"This is a beautiful and interesting black mandala. The central figure in the mandalais the Buddha Shakyamuni, who is seated in vajraparyankasana on a lotus base in the center. His right hand is in earth-touching gesture, while the left hand is in meditation position and holding a begging bowl. There are eight petals surrounding him, which depict eight guardian deities. All the four gateways in the square of the mandala are protected by protector deities. Each triangle of the square is also protected by the guardian deities. Walls of the mandala are decorated with stylized designs in gold and silver colors. Over the gates are houses with decorations. A dharmawheel type decoration is in the center of the each gateways. Moreover vases with jewel are depicted on each gate outside the wall. The area outside the square is filled with stylized clouds.
The mandala has an inner circle of lotus and outer circle of flames which protect the inner residence. Above the mandala Amitabha Buddha is seated on the top. The figures of Bodhisattva Kshitigarbha and Shadakshari Lokeshvara are on upper left and right corners, respectively. Exquisitely designed lotus flowers, leaves and clouds surround these figures.
In the center lower register of the thangka, celestial Buddha Amoghsiddhi sits on a lotus. In the lower left corner, Bodhisattva Manjushri and in the right, Akshobhya Buddha are seated on divine lotus seats in the rocky landscape.
Apart from the depiction of divinities, the foreground is filled with high peaks covered with snow, lakes and clouds etc. Two wrathful dragons are vertically depicted on each side of the middle ground. The composition of the painting conveys the beauty of black. It is said that Buddhists generally meditate on black thangkas to break the deadly grip of fear and hatred in order to attain wisdom and compassion. This thangka is very suitable for such meditation and worship.
Reference Alice Getty, The Gods of Northern Buddhism, Tokyo, 1962
B. Bhattacharyya, The Indian Buddhist Iconography, London, 1924 K.K. Dasgupta & Others (Ed.), Comprehensive History of India, Vol. III, Part II, PPH, Delhi, 1982"