Tibet, peaceful Manjushri – seated (7)

14th century, Tibet, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy with turquoise and lapis lazuli inlay, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

Manjushri sits in the vajra position, his hands turning the wheel of dharma and holding the stem of two lotuses, the blue one (fan-shaped) to his left supporting a manuscript topped with a jewel (traditionally a pearl). This particular iconography of peaceful/White Manjushri seems to have been popular in Tibet from the 13th century onwards and often includes the hilt of a sword on the lotus to his right, as below.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

This remarkable sculpture depicts the deity with a long dhoti richly incised with a floral motif, a matching shawl over his shoulders…

and matching shin ornaments (as well as anklets).

He has silver-inlaid eyes and urna, copper-inlaid lips and dimples, large floral disc earrings, bulky armbands and bracelets that match the design on his crown. The lining of the shawl has an incised geometrical pattern.

14th-15th century, Tibet, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, same as before.

Some early works show him with a helmet topped with a half-vajra finial. The above has a tall chignon with the same type of finial.

15th century, Tibet, Manjushri, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Manjushri often holds two different types of lotuses, including a blue one to his left to support the sacred text.

15th century, Tibet, Manjushri, copper alloy with traces of gilding and stones, same as before.

The hilt of the sword normally comes out of a white lotus and it has flames around it.

15th-16th century, Tibet, White Manjushri, U-Tsang province, gilt copper alloy with turquoise inlay, at the Liverpool Museum (UK).

A rare image of Manjushri, seated on a lotus complete with stalk and leaves, sprouting from a lotus base decorated with three elephants. He holds his left hand in the debate/teaching gesture, holding a pearl between forefinger and thumb and displaying another in the palm of his hand.

 

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