Western Tibet, Manjushri on lion throne

12th century circa, Western Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, brass, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

12th century circa, Western Tibet, bodhisattva Manjushri, brass, at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This is a most curious statue of Manjushri, identified through the sword in his right hand and the blue lotus flower in his left hand. The proportions of the body are graceful and his face is well made but the two creatures supporting the throne look almost like gremlins. He is sitting on a cushion covered with a tiger skin and with tassels imitating much earlier Kashmir and Swat Valley thrones. His long dhoti is made of  incised bands with geometrical patterns and held in place by a beaded belt. His diamond-shaped navel matches his pendant and earrings. The double mandorla, typical of 11th-12th Western Tibet, is strengthened at the back with a small bar of metal. There is no urna on his forehead but a jewel at the front of his small foliate crown. The roundish bows sticking out on the side of his head match a scallop-shaped adornment at the top of his head. The face has been painted with cold gold and the hair with lapis lazuli powder, according to the Tibetan custom. What first appears to be a sacred thread across his chest  looks in fact like as snake.

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