Pala India, Manjushri in Tibet

12th century, Northeast India, Pala period, bodhisattva Manjushri, brass with cold gold and pigments, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder

12th century, Northeast India, Pala period, bodhisattva Manjushri, brass with cold gold and pigments, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This is the epitomy of Pala Indian sculpture adapted to the Tibetan taste.  The Kashmiri and Indian practice of using silver inlay for the eyes gives them a certain coldness which disappears on statues kept in Tibet due to the use of colour. His face has been painted with cold gold, his lips and eyes with pigments and his hair with lapis lazuli powder mixed with some binding agent. The very tall double lotus base with large beading at the bottom and at the top and the exaggeratedly tall chignon tilting to one side immediately situate us in India or with an Indian artist, something which is confirmed by the large size lotuses on each side of the statue (one of them holds a manuscript, one of Manjushri’s attributes) .  The  low crown is decorated with wide bows and held in place with wide ribbons flowing upwards. Silver and copper inlay has been used for his jewellery and for the lotus flower design on his dhoti. This technique was later imitated with paint around the 18th century. The use of one or two pieces of turquoise in the headdress and sometimes on the necklace was quite common in Northeast India at the time. Other stones or coral and pearls were not normally used.

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