Kashmir, 6-armed Manjushri

9th century, Kashmir, bodhisattva Manjushri, copper alloy with silvier and copper inlay, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

9th century, Kashmir, bodhisattva Manjushri, copper alloy, at the Norton Simon Museum (USA).

This is a rare sculpture of peaceful Manjushri with 6 arms or shadbhuja accompanied by a peacok. The bodhisattva holds a rosary and three jewels in two of his right hands and a manuscript, a lotus and a citrus fruit  in his left hands. he stands on a double-lotus base, which is more often seen on Swat Valley sculptures and consists of a set of lotus petals going upwards joined to a larger, inverted one, both with well defined almond-shaped petals with  a very sharp point. The lotus base is on a platform imitating rocky formation, itself placed on a plinth.  There is a thick garland going from his shoulder to just above his ankles. He has the usual Kashmiri broad shoulders, prominent abdomen muscles around a deep navel, and the typical Kashmiri facial features, with silver-inlaid eyes. The prominent knee-caps are often seen on 9th-11th century statues from Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. In this case, there is are also two semi-circular incisions below the kneecap. He is wearing a waist-skirt with singular pleating marked with deep grooves, and, under it, a transparent dhoti, the hem is decorated with incisions and the  ends of the cloth are pleated between the legs. Both lower garments are held with a small belt and there is a sash across his hips. His tall crown with crescent moons and a floral design, typical of Kashmir, is held over a particularly thick fringe of hair adorned with a row of beading.  The  plaited hair on each side of his head is decorated with rosettes similar to his earrings. He wears two short necklaces and a longer one, a sacred thread, bracelets, armbands and anklets.

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