Pair of Manuscript Covers with Three Deities and Three Hierarchs
ca. 12th century
Distemper and gold on wood
Overall: 4 1/8 x 14 1/8 in. (10.5 x 35.9 cm)
Gift of Steven Kossak, The Kronos Collections, 1995
Not on view
On the upper cover, Shadakshari Lokesvara is flanked by Maitreya to his right and Avalokitesvara to his left. Shadakshari is a form of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara who presides over our current age, protecting us and offering a compassionate path to enlightenment. The Dalai Lama is understood to be an incarnation of Shadakshari Lokesvara, and he fosters spiritual knowledge in this form. This trio of bodhisattvas on the upper cover is paired on the lower cover with Atisha flanked by Tibetan patriarchs, relating the role of these important human figures with those of the divine realm.