The central field portraying tantric deities with flaming aureoles set against a foliate background and arranged in groups of three, with Kalachakra, Dharmadhatuvagishvara and Hevajra above Mahasamvara, Yogambara and Chakrasamvara, with Vajrabhairava, Vignantaka and a form of Vajravarahi or Marichi in the lower register, six deities flanking a stupa above, and Ganapati, Achala and Mahakala below, flanked by male and female groups at either side.
Stella Kramrisch Collection
Stella Kramrisch, The Art of Nepal, New York, 1965, no. 102.
Dr. Pratapaditya Pal, The Arts of Nepal, Volume Two: Painting, Leiden, 1978, pl. 122.Hugo E. Kreijger, Kathmandu Valley Painting, The Jucker Collection, Boston, 1999, p. 70, no. 22.
The first line of the inscription seems to imply that the work was done as a replacement for an earlier painting "... on this day being taken into the initiation (of the secret deities) the image was replaced ...". The inscription continues with a long list of several generations of Citrakaras who "make the gesture of namaskara" as can be seen in the portraits in the lower register. It is unclear whether these personages are the donors or in fact one or more of the artists responsible for the replaced painting, together with their families - unusually no donor is mentioned. The Citrakaras, ineligible for tantric initiation, would have been awarded temporary initiation to work on the painting, hence the meaning of the first line of the inscription, " ... being taken into the initiation (of the secret deities)". Stella Kramrisch first published the painting in 1964 and read the date in the inscription as samvat 895 (1775). Since then the inscription has presumably been further effaced and the date has become illegible.
An earlier paubha with almost identical iconography in the Pritzker Collection would confirm that this particular grouping of deities relates to a specific ceremonial or meditation practice, see Pal, 2003, pp. 66-7, no. 37.
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