Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Base for a Mandala

Period:
Ming dynasty (1368–1644)
Date:
15th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Cloisonné enamel
Dimensions:
H. 3 in. (7.6 cm); Diam. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Classification:
Cloisonné
Credit Line:
Purchase, Florence and Herbert Irving Gift, 1992
Accession Number:
1992.331
Not on view
Ceremonial mandalas were used in later forms of Buddhism, including Esoteric Buddhism, which is noted for its complicated pantheon and rituals. Esoteric Buddhism, which developed in India between the fourth and eighth centuries, flourished in Tibet from the tenth century and was influential at the Chinese court after the fourteenth.

This base, most likely produced for use in Tibet, once supported a three-dimensional mandala that probably comprised small sculptures, models of temples and stupas, or colored sands. The decoration combines lotus flowers (Buddhist symbols of purity) at the top with the Eight Buddhist Treasures at the sides. The traditional treasures—a conch, a lotus, a wheel, a parasol, an endless knot, a pair of fish, a banner, and a treasure vase—are here augmented with other auspicious motifs such as coral. Each treasure appears atop a lotus flower.
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