Mongolia, seated Manjushri

17th-18th century, Mongolia, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

17th-18th century, Mongolia, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

Manjushri is seated in the vajra position, brandishing his sword with one hand and holding the stem of a lotus flower topped with a manuscript with the other. The manuscript is topped with a small flaming pearl and his tall Pala-style chignon with a larger one. He wears a five-leaf crown with bows, rosettes and ribbons, some bulky earrings, a short necklace, armbands, bracelets and anklets, a long strand of pearls, a sacred cord and a thin celestial scarf. His ankle-length dhoti is held in place with a festooned belt. The tall double-lotus base with broad petals and a plain lower part, the rich gilding, the diaphanous clothing, the elongated torso are all typical of late 17th century Mongolia.

18th century, Mongolia, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art.

18th century, Mongolia, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, at the San Diego Museum of Art.

This sculpture has easily recognizable Chinese features: the smiling eyes and lips, the narrow waist, the shape of the lotus base, the way the celestial scarf hangs over the front of the base, the soft draping of the dhoti and round edge. His necklace and the lotus he holds in his left hand are not typical of Mongolia either. He would normally hold a flaming sword in his right hand.

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