Nepal, early Malla Manjushri

13th century, Nepal, Manjushri, copper with traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Christie's.

13th century, Nepal, Manjushri, copper with glass inlay and traces of gilding, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This Indian-style sculpture depicts White Manjushri seated in the vajra position with his right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity and the left hand holding the stem of a large lotus flower with the Prajnaparamita tantra on top.

15th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, photo by Koller.

From the 13th century onwards he may have lotuses on each side of him, or attached to his forearms to support the manuscript and the hilt of a sword, with both hands at heart level in the dharmacakra mudra, as above. He is adorned with a half-vajra finial and stone-inlaid jewellery.

14th century, Nepal, Manjushri, copper?, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

14th century, Nepal, Manjushri, copper?, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

Despite the missing lotus in his left hand, this bodhisattva is identified as Manjushri through his necklace and the way part of his hair is fastened into three lots of curly hair cascading on each side of his face (plus the absence of attributes related to other bodhisattvas).

14th c., Nepal, Manjushri, copper?, necklace with teeth, Rubin MoA

His necklace is made of two rows of beads, some teeth, flowers and a pendant with a square flower and the three-tooth design associated with him (but not exclusive to him). He  wears a broad sash incised with a floral motif.

14th c., Nepal, Manjushri, copper?, dhoti, Rubin MoA

His lower garment and the palm of his hand are also incised with a floral design.

15th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy and stones, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

15th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy and stones, at the Rubin Museum of Art (USA).

It is not uncommon to see him with a leg pendant, his foot resting on a lotus bud attached to the base (missing in this case, like the lotuses fastened to his arms).

Undated, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated (15th century?), Nepal, Manjushri, gilt metal, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

The above retains his lotuses, topped with the hilt of a sword to his right and a manuscript topped with what may be a pearl to his left. He is adorned with princely jewellery including armbands and matching adornments worn above the ankle, a recurrent feature on 15th century Nepalese sculptures.

15th c?, Nepal, Manjushri, metal, face+finial, Pritzker col. on HAR

As only a small piece of his tiara remains, we can see how his two-tier chignon is decorated with tear-shaped adornments, and topped with a half-vajra finial.

13th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, published on asianart.com.

13th century, Nepal, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy and stones, private collection, published on asianart.com.

White Manjushri may be standing and his right hand may do the vitarka mudra instead, as above. There is a manuscript topped with a pearl at the centre of the lotus flower. His short dhoti is incised with a large floral motif. The sash knotted to one side forms a semi-circular shape at the front, matched by his thick sacred thread.

14th century, Nepal, Manjushri Sthiracakra, gilt copper and stones, is or was in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

14th century, Nepal, Manjushri Sthiracakra, gilt copper and stones, is or was in Lhasa, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Another standard form of Manjushri portrays him seated in the vajra position, brandishing a sword (broken here) in his right hand, holding the book at heart level in his left hand.

 

 

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