The Buddha Vairochana Presiding over the Cosmic Axis, Panel from a Buddhist Ritual Crown
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
Not on view
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.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sacred Visions: Early Paintings from Central Tibet," October 6, 1998–January 17, 1999.
Zurich. Museum Rietberg. "Sacred Visions: Early Paintings from Central Tibet," February 14, 1999–May 16, 1999.