Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

5.48 Citipati [2]

The Glorious Lords of the Charnel Ground

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This Thangka depicts two skeletal figures, called Citipatis ["Tib.: Dur-khrod bdga-po]. They are considered to be masters of the ceremony. One is male and the other is female. The Citipati are one of the 75 forms of Mahakala and are visible reminders of the impermanence of everything worldly. They are special protectors of Chakrasamvara and of the Dakini Vajrayogini.

Each holds a special sceptre, made of a death´s head with the spine still attached in its right and a skull bowl of blood containing brain in its left hand, while standing on the left leg a top a conch shell. Their mouths are parted in a large grin, showing all their teeth. The figures stand in dance position with their legs intertwinded standing at a red sun disc and lotus blossom on a throne. They are surrounded by the red flames of pristine awareness.

In the cemetry, the Citipati are supposed to perform a skelleton ritual dance during which they blow the Tibetan long horns. In most monasteries the dance, symbolic of the cycle of life and death, is peformed in the monastery cemetry once in summer und once in winter by monks wearing masks.

According to a Tibetan legend, the two Citipatis were two ascetic monks in their former life. Deep in meditation, they did not realize that a thief cut off their heads and threw their bodies in the mud. They changed into wrathful death spirits, with vows of eternal vengeance.

Color Version

Measurements: 27.6 x 42.5" | 70 x 108 cm
Price: on request
Shipment: Parcel Service from Germany or Nepal
Color: Black Background
Material: Natural Stone Colors