Mahakala (ABS 048)

Mahākāla, the Great Black One, (mGon-po in Tibetan), is one of the eight great protectors of Buddha Sakyamunis teachings (dharmapāla). He is usually represented in the middle of a cemetery, squatting over the bodies of defeated enemies of the dharma. It is said that there are seventy-two different forms of representation of Mahākāla. The deity is dark skinned and holds a chopper and a scull cup in his hands. His three eyes symbolize the knowledge of past, present and future. He is crowned with a diadem made of five skulls that stand for five poisons that are: ignorance, attachment, aversion, pride and jealousy, which are transformed into five wisdoms. He wears a garland of fifty freshly chopped-off heads, as well as bone ornaments and snakes that symbolize the victory over hatred.


Brass inlaid with copper and silver

22 cm
15th century


Tibet Museum 
Fondation Alain Bordier 
Rue du Château 4 
1663 Gruyères 
Tel.   : +41 (0)26 921 30 10

Opening hours

November to Easter
Tuesday to Friday 1pm to 5pm 
Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm 
Monday closed

Easter to October
daily from 11am to 6pm