Hitimunga by Mukti Singh Thapa

This dazzling painting by master artist Mukti Singh Thapa is of a Hitimunga, or Makara in Sanskrit. It is part of Mukti's 'Early Collection' and, completed in 1984, one of the oldest pieces we have in the collection. As with all of the artist's work, it is painted in the traditional manner with mineral pigments on cotton canvas. The red body is painted with cinnabar and the jewelry is painted painstakingly with 24 carat gold.

The hitimunga, in Newari, is a mythical animal and is depicted in various ways. Typically, it has the lower jaw of a crocodile, the snout or trunk of an elephant, the tusks and ears of a wild boar, the darting eyes of a monkey, the mane of a horse, the paws of a lion, and the swirling tail feathers of a peacock.

The Newar art of Nepal uses the hitimunga extensively. In addition to appearing often in paubha, or thangka paintings, you will find it frequently in Newar architecture. It is found carved into wood and stone on temples and is often used as a water spout with water coming directly out of its mouth.

The artist has placed Varuna, the God of Water, at the top of the painting, as the hitimunga is his mount.  At the bottom is a naga, taking the human form rather than that of a serpent.

The original thangka, or paubha, painting, is available for the astute collector. If you are interested in this original painting, please email Mahakala@MahakalaFineArts.com and we will share the price as well as more information about this unique piece.



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