Nepal, early sitting Manjushri

8th-9th century, Nepal, Licchavi period, bodhisattva Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA)

Late 8th-early 9th century, Nepal, bodhisattva Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

This is a very unusual sculpture of peaceful Manjushri sitting on a cushion incised with a floral motif, one leg extended, holding a blue lotus and a manuscript in his left hand and a pearl in his right hand. There is a tiger skin partly under him and partly over his right leg. His hairstyle, long strands of hair cascading on each side of his face and ending in big curls, resembles that of earlier North Indian works. The short and somewhat childlike chubby legs are characteristic of a group of Nepalese sculptures. The sobriety of the work and especially of the jewellery situate towards the end of the Licchavi period.

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