These illustrations symbolize the great concepts of Buddhism, including the relationship of the deities with the world of mortals through their communication agents, the bodhisattvas.
On March 17 in New York, Sotheby's sells a Tibetan thangka of that period, lot 1019 estimated $ 800K. This work in a strict square 125 x 125 cm is designed as the plan of a monastery with a central mandala housing the deities seated on their thrones. This circular structure is located in a square room itself protected from the dangers of the outside world by a corridor guarded by sentries.
The mandala is presided in its center by the white god of the great light, Vairochana. At each of the four cardinal points, Vairochana is accompanied by a colored deity itself flanked by four bodhisattvas. These deities are also major figures including for example Amitabha who will have a top role in the Buddhist devotion.
Peace and meditation are total within the mandala, in opposition to the torments of the outside world symbolized by the flames and by the trees bent by the wind. The faithful can not enter but pray for contacting the bodhisattvas.