© Robert Powell

Dakini Gate
40 x 135 cm

While the first two floors of the Jampa Lhakhang in Lo Manthang were completed in 1448, a further building campaign took place 50 years later. A third floor was added and painted by Tibetans with a cycle of mandalas dedicated to the peaceful and wrathful deities. Placed above any other chapel, this room has the function of a paradise. Its presence here is something of a mystery.

At the southern corner of the western wall the paintings "have turned completely black in a way that is found in much more ancient murals at Dunhuang, popularly known among scholars as the 'black sun paintings'" (Roberto Vitali, Glo-sMos.thang: an architectural analysis of its two major temples, unpublished manuscript, 1997).

Above the main mandalas and paintings of mahasiddhas is a row of dakinis (Sky Walkers) whose silhouttes have a sensual vigour and joyfulness.