Tibet, Manjushri with sword (3)

12th century, Tibet, copper alloy, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

12th century, Tibet, copper alloy with cold gold and pigments, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Manjushri brandishes a flaming sword and holds a blue lotus topped with a book/manuscript with the other hand. This large sculpture (131 cm without the base) corresponds to the Indian Pala style and may have been made by an Indian artist in Tibet but his large head was almost certainly made in the Lhassa region by a Tibetan artist. The double-lotus base with broad rounded petals looks posterior (15th century circa).

12th c., Tibet, Manjushri, Indian artist, late Pala, brass, 180-131 cm, lower garment

His short dhoti is decorated with an incised floral motif and a small festooned belt and held in place with a belt knotted at the back and decorated with a large floral motif.

13th century, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

13th century, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy with turquoise inlay, private collection, photo by Koller.

Fierceful Manjushri is seated with a leg pendant, his foot on a lotus stemming from the base, brandishing a sword above his head, holding a lotus topped with a manuscript with his left hand, seated on a Pala-style double-lotus base, adorned with princely jewellery, his tall Indian-style chignon topped with a finial inlaid with turquoise, his low tiara held decorated with large bows, his knee-length dhoti incised with a stippled floral motif and held in place with a belt decorated with incised lozenges. This form of Manjushri (Arapachana) was popular until the 13th century, then was gradually replaced with a more peaceful form with the hilt of his sword coming out of a lotus to his right. On paintings, Arapachana can be white or orange, which creates confusion because in sculpture “white” normally means peaceful and on late works the hilt of the sword is not always clearly visible.

15th century, Central Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, at the Lhasa museum, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

15th century, Central Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, at the Lhasa museum, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This Pala-style Manjushri wears a celestial scarf and carries a large lotus with no book on it.

15th c., Central Tibet, Manjushri, c.a.+cold g.+pig., close up, Lhasa Museum on HAR
His face has been painted with cold gold and pigments, and his hair with lapis lazuli powder, following the Tibetan tradition. However, the severity of the eyes and the pursed lips and thin nose recall Indian sculptures rather than Tibetan ones.
15th c., Central Tibet, Manjushri, c.a.+cold g.+pig., detail, Lhasa M. on HAR
His lower garment is richly decorated with a floral motif inlaid with copper and silver, a technique particular popular in 15th-16th century Central Tibet. If it had been made in India during the Pala period, his garment would have been decorated with large dots inlaid with silver and copper rather than flowers.
16th century, Tibet, Manjushri Arapachana, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

16th century, Tibet, Manjushri Arapachana, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

17th century, Tibet, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

17th century, Tibet, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Nagel.

On this “Pala revival” sculpture, Manjushri has a Chinese-style crown with festoons. His dhoti is decorated with a “modern” stippled swirly motif and some silver-inlaid dots that imitate the Indian Pala style.

Undated, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, at the American Museum of National History.

Undated, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, at the American Museum of National History.

This is an archaic form of Manjushri, standing on a stepped platform, holding a stiff lotus topped with a large book and brandishing a sword very similar to the sword on three 11th-12th century sculptures of Manjushri made in Western Tibet, published in a previous post. He has marked pectorals and incised facial features. He wears an ankle-length dhoti decorated with incisions, a triangular belt or garment that drops over the dhoti, and a thin sash across the hips. Apart from standard circular earrings, there are two deep holes in his throat, difficult to explain.

Undated, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, same as before.

Undated, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy, same as before.

This other curious and archaic sculpture, possibly part of a triad of bodhisattvas, depicts Manjushri with a sword stemming from his hand. He has marked pectorals and sculpted facial features. He wears a short dhoti decorated with a stippled floral motif. His prominent knee caps are typical of sculptures made in Western Tibet around the 11th and 12th century and those made in Ladakh earlier. He wears jewellery and a sacred thread, a triangular belt or garment over his dhoti similar to that of the previous image, and a broad celestial scarf (incised like the belt and sacred thread).

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