Tibet, Manjushri on a lion

14th-15th century, Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, copper alloy with copper, stone, coral and glass inlay, private collection.

14th-15th century, Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, copper alloy with copper, stone, coral and glass inlay, private collection.

This is a rare sculpture of Manjushri sitting in the lotus position on a snow lion crouching on a single lotus base. The bodhisattva is easy to identify through the sword resting on a blue lotus or utpala (thin pointed petals) to his right and the manuscript resting on a similar lotus to his left, while his hands make the dharmachakra mudra or “turning the wheel of dharma” gesture.  He is wearing the usual princely garments and ornate jewellery. His facial features and the use of coral and turquoise inlay are typical of Tibetan works but the oblong urna on his forehead and the profusion of stones and coral inlay indicate a Nepalese influence. His mount, the lion, is equipped with a rug and saddle and was also adorned with stones, nearly all missing.

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