Vajrabhairava mandala, China, ca. 1330–32. Silk tapestry (kesi). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992.54. Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1992.

A monumental work of silk tapestry depicting the Vajrabhairava mandala, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of the most dazzling works produced under the patronage of the Yuan dynasty’s Mongol ruling house (1271–1368). In this presentation, Yong Cho explores the Vajrabhairava mandala’s intended ritual function as well as Yuan-era courtly discourses that theorized silk tapestry as a medium of choice for divine imagery.
Yong Cho is a specialist in the art and architecture of East and central Asia from the medieval period. He has a particular interest in the Mongol Empire. His current book project focuses on woven images to investigate a moment of major cultural transformation in Eurasia when the Mongols, the tent-dwelling pastoral nomadic peoples of the North Asian steppe, became rulers of a world empire. He is currently assistant professor in the Department of the History of Art at the University of California, Riverside.