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Buddhist Deity, Ushnishavijaya (Zun Sheng fo mu)

Period:
Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Date:
late 17th–18th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Gilt brass; lost-wax cast
Dimensions:
H. 7 in. (17.8 cm); W. 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm); D. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.75a, b
  • Description

    This eight-armed goddess can be identified by the implements she holds as Ushnishavijaya, one of several female deities who began to play a prominent role in Indian Buddhist practices during the seventh and eighth centuries. She has three faces and is thought to personify the ushnisha, the cranial protuberance that marks a Buddha. Therefore, she is generally associated with the development of practices focusing on spiritual understanding. The goddess holds a small seated Buddha in her upper right hand and a two-pronged vajra suspended from a long rope in her upper left. Her second pair of hands holds a bow and arrow, while the third clutches a four-pronged vajra (a ritual implement symbolic of adamantine power) before her chest. The seventh and eighth arms, the lowest pair on the sculpture, offer a gesture of beneficence (with the right hand) and hold a covered vase (with the left). The style of the sculpture, which derives from earlier traditions developed in India and the Himalayas, reflects the close ties between the Buddhist cultures of Tibet, Mongolia, and China in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

  • See also
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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
73383

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