Interior of a Book Cover: Manjuvajra Embracing His Consort, with Attendant Lamas
late 13th century
Distemper on wood
16 3/4 x 5 5/8 in. (42.5 x 14.3 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Louis V. Bell Fund, 1998
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 253
Paintings on the interiors of book covers consecrate and protect the sacred texts within. The Buddhist deity Manjuvajra is an esoteric expression of the wisdom bodhisattva Manjushri and is seen here in a sexual embrace with one of the wisdom goddesses, or Vidyadharas. Here, Manjushri and his consort wield identical weapons to drive away impediments to spiritual awakening. Meditations on Manjuvajra are understood to specifically enhance memory and intelligence, necessary tools on the path to wisdom.