THE MAHAKALA APPLIQUÉ
In May, 1994, with the successful completion of this first large scale silk applique thangka (Goku), the abbot Ven. Drupon Dechen Rimpoche, requested the artists to make the second lost Tsurphu gos sku. This is to replace a 10 meter square embroidered (Goku) that was burned during the Culture Revolution in the mid 60’s.
Again for this image, no photographic record existed of the previous applique thangka destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, making the creation of an exact reproduction impossible. The very generous Ven. Tenga Rinpoche gave many answers to all our questions and advice on these esoteric images. However what was clearly known is that the thangka represents the protector Mahakala, Bernagchen with his consort surrounded by his retinue of five wrathful attendants.
Overlooking these ferocious protectors, at the top center of the image, sits the imposing frowning figure of the 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi. Traditionally, in painting, such wrathful compositions would be represented background with landscape elements highlighted in lines of real gold. Similarly, this thangka is translated as a black appliqué thangka whereby the colorful wrathful deities are stitched against a black satin background. They are surrounded by a landscape of golden silk line work depicting mountains against clouds and rainbows all amidst detail of flora, fauna and symbolic offerings.