Friday Jun 2, 2023
Friday Jun 2, 2023

Nepal's Yuga Purush preserving Buddhist mural

2022 Oct 13, 11:17, Kathmandu

The artists have been spending months preparing the painting of the Buddhist tantric deity Chakrasamvara, the last wish of Nepal's famed historian and Yuga Purush- Satya Mohan Joshi.

Six artists are meticulously painting a 22 by 5.5 feet Paubha of Chakrasamvara, a powerful deity of Buddhism immensely popular in Tibet and Mongolia along with Nepal.

The six artists are working from dawn to dusk to prepare a piece of art which is about to get extinct and would be representative of "Nepal's indigenous art traditions, practices and methods."

The mural that is being painted over canvases brought together gives an erotic feeling to those who are not familiar with the Buddhist deity. In the mural, Chkrasamvara- an esoteric deity is embracing his yogini consort Vajravarahi who is considered an esoteric deity by Vajrayana practitioners.

"Originally we had planned to paint it over the wall so that passersby could see it. But to preserve it from being washed away by rain or collapsing down due to the earthquake or any other foreseen incidents we decided to make it a mural over the canvas. The colours that are being used for it are natural colours, the pigments which can be extracted. It has been over five months that we have been working to prepare it if we add the time of drawing as well," Rabin Maharjan, one of the artists involved in the preparation of the mural told ANI.

In the mural that expands from one side of the canvas to the other covering one part of the wall facing against the window, in the centre lies a painting of Chakrasamvara. The artists have brought in other family members of the deity to make it more lively and informative.

It is believed that the mural of the esoteric deity Chakrasamvara is understood only by those who have received Dekha (esoteric initiation) who can enter the chamber of the deity to worship it.

"In the Vajrayanatantra of Buddhism, Chakrasamvara is the main god to be worshipped. The deity is considered as esoteric in Nepal and is meant not to be shown to the public as it would be widely misinterpreted. But we are again recreating it so that those who are doing research on it and preserve it as well," Maharjan added.

Chakrasamvara represents a philosophy in Tantric Buddhism that is bereft of duality and represents enlightened knowledge, say experts on Buddhism.

This mural conveys philosophy meant to portray the union of compassion and wisdom through the union of Chakrasamvara and Vajravarahi. Chakrasamvara has widely revered in Newa as well as Tibetan Buddhism.

Upon the completion of the mural, a tantra that has for centuries been closely guarded would come to the public sphere further increasing its value as well as raising awareness to preserve it.

Now marching towards the end, the artists are using the traditional technique of paubha making, which involves using a mineral colour which makes the piece of art richer and lasts longer as well.

"We have been using mineral colours for the entire process. These kinds of colours are believed to have evolved from the 13th century used widely by 'chitrakars' artists. These are different from the acrylic colours used since ancient times while making paubhas. In this process in order to use yellow pigment harital is used, simrik for red malachite for green, indigo for blue, Gajal for black and shell powder for white are mostly used," Laxmi Shakya, another artist told ANI.

The mural is expected to reach an expenditure of about 4.23 million Nepali rupees upon its completion. The project has so far collected 25 per cent of the estimated required budget.


Buddhist god Nepal's Yuga Purush powerful deity of Buddhism Buddhist tantric deity Chakrasamvara Nepalese artists
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