Dadu (present-day Beijing), one of the capital cities of the Mongols’ dynasty over China (Yuan, 1271-1368), had nine Buddhist temples that were sponsored by the imperial family. In them, the Yuan rulers built separate halls, specifically designed to enshrine the woven images of the deceased emperors and empresses by way of not only portraits, but also tantric Buddhist mandalas. Why did the pictorial program of the Yuan imperial portrait halls include Buddhist mandalas? In this paper, I explore this question by focusing on one such example, the Vajrabhairava mandala, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. By taking into consideration the history and ritual practices of tantric Buddhism at the Yuan court, I will suggest that mandalas functioned as tantric portraits, which captured the deified bodies of deceased emperors. Mongol emperors and empresses during their lifetimes underwent Higher Yoga Tantra initiation into the ritual systems of various tantric deities including Vajrabhairava. Such rituals effectively transformed the bodies of imperial couples into those of their chosen deities. In this sense the Yuan ancestral portrait hall, where conventional portraits were hung beside deified emanations, became a site where depictions of earthly and divine bodies were simultaneously present.