Tibet, Manjushri – various forms (9)

12th century, Tibet, Manjushri, painted wood, photo on Fondation, at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

A very old and well preserved wooden sculpture of a peaceful bodhisattva flanked by blue lotuses, each supporting a manuscript. His right hand does the gesture to bestow refuge but with the forefinger and the middle finger twisted.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Dharmasankha Samadhi Manjushri, brass, photo on Fondation, at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

Until now we have only seen one other Tibetan sculpture depicting this rare form of White Manjushri seated in the vajra position with both hands in the gesture of meditation. He is flanked by blue lotuses supporting a manuscript to his right and a half vajra sceptre to his left and wears princely accessories, a long lower garment and a sash across his chest.

13th-14th century, Tibet, Manjushri, brass with turquoise inlay, photo on Fondation, at the Tibet Museum in Gruyères (Switzerland).

A Pala-style White Manjushri seated in a relaxed manner and leaning on his left arm. This form of the bodhisattva normally does the fear-allaying gesture with his right hand but in this instance his right arm and hand are resting against his raised leg. He holds the stem of a blue lotus supporting a manuscript and the blue lotus on the other side supports the hilt of a sword.

16th-17th century, Tibet, Manjushri (labelled ‘bodhisattva’), gilt bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s, sale 9822 lot 114, London.

From the 13th century onwards he is usually depicted with his his hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘ and flanked by lotuses or with lotuses fastened to his arms, the one to his right supporting the hilt of a sword, the other supporting the Prajnaparamita sutra (either of them barely visible here).

Undated (circa 15th century?), Tibet, Arapachana, Manjushri, bronze, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, photo HAR .

The bodhisattva of wisdom seated on a lotus base with his legs locked, brandishing a sword in his right hand and holding a book in the other, upright and at heart level. He wears a long dhoti, a small tiara and princely jewellery.

15th-16th century (Tibet or Nepal?), Manjushri, gilt bronze, private collection photo on Ethereal .

Namasangiti Manjushri with one head and four arms, seated in the vajra position and holding a sword and a bow in his upper hands, an arrow and a book in the lower ones, the latter before his heart, as described in the sadhanamala tantra.

Unlabelled, (circa 13th century?, Tibet, Namasangiti Manjushri, brass with cold gold and pigment), Seer Photographic Collection, photo on Himalayan Art Resources .

A singular work featuring Manjushri with one head and four arms, his lower right hand in the gesture of supreme generosity, the upper one brandishing a sword, his (rather large) lower left hand clutching the stem of a blue lotus, the remaining hand holding a book before his heart. He is adorned with a crown, princely jewellery and a garland of blue lotuses (utpala).

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