Art/ Collection/ Art Object

一字金輪曼荼羅
Mandala of the One-Syllable Golden Wheel

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
18th century
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
Dimensions:
44 1/4 x 39 1/4 in. (112.4 x 99.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Steiger, 1967
Accession Number:
67.176
Not on view
The Mandala of the One-Syllable Golden Wheel (Japanese: Ichiji Kinrin Mandara) envisions the power of a single Sanskrit syllable, the utterance of which calls forth a personification of the cranial protuberance of the Buddha. It is used in rituals for the prevention of disaster, for the expansion of wealth, and for success in love, as well as for assuring safe delivery of children, career success, and propitious weather. The figural representation of the sound sits at the center of the mandala on a lotus pedestal borne by eight lions. It resembles the Buddha Dainichi (Sanskrit: Vairochana) and holds its hands in a sacred gesture known as the wisdom-fist mudra, which symbolizes the non-duality of perfect wisdom and the deluded nature of unenlightened beings. The surrounding figures and forms represent the seven emblems of sovereignty of supreme rulers and the deity Butsugen Butsumo, literally “Buddha-eye, Buddha-mother,” who crushes ignorance and perceives the essence of all things. Use of costly materials and meticulous craftsmanship, especially in the simulated brocade of the mounting and the intricate cut-gold-leaf-on-azurite of the mountain, reflect a belief in the meritorious nature of image making and the ornamentation of ritual space.
Related Objects

Beauty of the Kanbun Era

Date: late 17th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.112 On view in:Not on view

The Warrior Asahina Yoshihide Lifting a Puppet of a Courtesan on a Go Board

Artist: Torii Kiyoshige (Japanese, active ca. 1716–1759) Date: mid-18th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.131 On view in:Gallery 231

Courtesan and Two Attendants on New Year's Day

Artist: Isoda Koryūsai (Japanese, 1735–ca. 1790) Date: ca. 1780s Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.136 On view in:Gallery 231

“Mount Utsu” (Utsu no yama), from The Tales of Ise (Ise monogatari)

Artist: Painting by Tawaraya Sōtatsu (Japanese, died ca. 1640) Date: ca. 1634 Medium: Poem card (shikishi) mounted as a hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on paper Accession: 2015.300.88 On view in:Gallery 227

Emperor Xuanzong's Flight to Shu

Date: mid-12th century Medium: Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk Accession: 41.138 On view in:Gallery 210