Panel from a Buddhist Ritual Crown Depicting Vairochana
late 13th–early 14th century
Distemper on wood
H. 11 3/4 in (29.8 cm); W. 5 1/8 in (13 cm)
Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1997
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 253
Vairochana presides over the five Tathagatas (Transcendent Buddhas), an important group of deities of Vajrayana Buddhism. Guarding the base of Vairochana’s crown are lions that also serve as his vehicle. Vairochana makes the esoteric gesture bodhyagri, while holding a vajra (thunderbolt scepter) in his right hand.