Pala India, Manjushri – Manjuvajra

DOUBLE PUBLICATION TODAY:

– a page on hand gestures, in the left-hand column of this blog.

– a post on an esoteric aspect of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, below.

 

11th century, Northern India, Manjushri, Manjuvajra, stone, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

11th century, Northern India, Manjushri, Manjuvajra, stone, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA), published on the Himalayan Art Resources website.

Described in the namasangiti tantra, this form of Manjushri has three heads and six hands, the main ones crossed over the heart, each holding a thunderbolt, the other right hands holding a sword and an arrow (missing here), the left ones holding a blue lotus and a bow, always seated in the vajra position. The above is in the niche of a stupa, on a double lotus over a throne decorated with animals and deities.

11th-c-india-northern-manjushri-manjuvajra-stone-close-up-rubin-moa

On each side of the arch there is an elephant supporting a viyala supporting a makara.

11th-c-india-northern-manjushri-manjuvajra-stone-miniature-rubin-moa

and at the top there are five stupas with miniature replicas of the same deity with different attributes.

11th century, India, West Bengal, Manjuvajra mandala, stone at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

11th century, India, West Bengal, Manjuvajra mandala, stone at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

This very similar work depicts the same scene.

12th century, Northeast India, Guhyasamaja Manjuvajra, brass with silver, copper, turquoise and coral inlay, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

12th century, Northeast India, labelled Guhyasamaja, Manjuvajra, brass with silver, copper, turquoise and coral inlay, at the Art Institute of Chicago (USA).

Manjuvajra Guhyasamaja also has three faces and six hands and sits in the vajra position but is always depicted with his consort. Therefore this is more likely to be Manjuvajra Manjushri too. He has silver-inlaid eyes, urna, his hair is gathered in a tall Pala-style chignon topped with a magic jewel (except for a few strands that fall over his shoulders), his long dhoti and his accessories are inlaid with silver and copper. He is adorned with a five-leaf crown inlaid with turquoise and coral, a thin celestial scarf, a sacred thread, large hoops inlaid with turquoise, various necklaces, armbands, bracelets and a double sacred thread. His blue lotus (utpala) is topped with a manuscript.

 

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