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Initiation Card (Tsakalis): Vajrapani

Date:
late 13th century–mid-14th century
Culture:
Tibet
Medium:
Opaque watercolor on paper
Dimensions:
Each: 6 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. (16 x 14.5 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.282.9
  • Description

    These small paintings form part of a set that was used during Buddhist initiation ceremonies in Tibet. Each has a letter on the back indicating the correct sequence in which the cards were to be arranged and used. The central group forms a meditation mandala dedicated to Vajrasattva, the sixth and ultimate Buddha. He is accompanied by the five tathagatas, or celestial Buddhas, and has four lokapalas (gate keepers, guardians of the directions). All the deities of the mandala are associated with Bodhisattva Samantabhadra, a form of Lokesvara, and his consort, Samantabhadri, who appear on individual cards. The set probably was made for the Nyingma (Elder) school of Tibetan Buddhism. Uncharacteristically for tsakalis, the cards are painted in the Nepalese style and are thus likely by a Newar artist employed at a monastery in south-central Tibet.

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    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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