Nepal, early Malla – standing Manjushri

14th century circa, Nepal, Manjushri, copper with cold gold and pigments, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

14th century circa, Nepal, Manjushri, copper with cold gold and pigments, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The bodhisattva of wisdom in his peaceful form is identified through the manuscript topped with a pearl that rests on the lotus attached to his arm at elbow level. The statue was at the gTsug Lakhang in Lhasa, and like many sculptures worshipped in Tibet it has cold gold and pigments on the face, lapis lazuli powder in the hair. His crown, the finial on his chignon and the attributes are also painted with cold gold. We can see traces of gilding on the rest of the body. His jewellery is inlaid with coral and turquoise, to suit the Tibetan taste. His lower garment is adorned with a thin sash that forms a circular shape above the knees, matched by the sacred cord inlaid with stones above it. The ends of the sash  appear to go through a loop at the waist before dropping into elegant pleats on each side.

15th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

15th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

This sculpture depicts Manjushri with an Indian style crown (tall triangular panels going inwards), ribbons and rosettes, wearing large lotus earrings, bodhisattva jewellery, a knee-length dhoti incised with a lotus motif and held in place with a thin belt, a sacred cord, and no sash. He holds a large lotus flower (the stem is now broken but would have gone through his fingers) that supports a manuscript. His broad face has generous lips, large eyes slightly cast down, a rectangular urna. His hair is painted with black pigment, some strands fall loosely on his shoulders, a row of thick curls shows below the rim of the crown. One would expect the thin waist to be counterbalanced with sturdy hips, given that the overall craftsmanship of the work is of high standards.

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