Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Mandala of the Forms of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom

late 14th century
Distemper on cloth
33 1/16 x 29 1/8 in. (83.9 x 74 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1977
Accession Number:
Not on view
At center sits Manjushri, the peaceful form of Manjuvajra, a bodhisattva who cuts through ignorance. He is golden, has three faces, and embraces his consort Prajna—iconography as prescribed in the Vajrayana text the Nishpanna Yogavali (Garland of Perfection Yoga). In the four directions are towers with floral motifs spewing from the mouths of makaras that together take the form of crossed vajras, denoting the stable axis upon which Manjushri sits. Rings of lotus petals, vajras, and fire mark the sacred space of the central palace. In the corners are images of Manjushri. Below are Taras and ferocious protectors, including Mahakala and Palden Lhamo as well as a monk who performs the consecration ritual for the mandala. The figural style and ornamental rendering suggest that a Nepalese artist painted this work for a Tibetan patron.
Inscription: There are some Tibetan inscriptions which have not yet been translated.
Related Objects

Portrait of Jnanatapa Attended by Lamas and Mahasiddhas

Date: ca. 1350 Medium: Distemper on cloth Accession: 1987.144 On view in:Gallery 253

Lineage Portrait of an Abbot

Date: ca. 1350 Medium: Distemper on cloth Accession: 1991.304 On view in:Gallery 253

Portrait of the Indian Monk Atisha

Date: early to mid-12th century Medium: Distemper and gold on cloth Accession: 1993.479 On view in:Gallery 253

Interior of a Book Cover: Manjuvajra Embracing His Consort, with Attendant Lamas

Date: late 13th century Medium: Distemper on wood Accession: 1998.75 On view in:Gallery 253

Panel from a Buddhist Ritual Crown Depicting Vairochana

Date: late 13th–early 14th century Medium: Distemper on wood Accession: 1997.152 On view in:Gallery 253