Book Cover from a Manuscript of the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutra
Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)
Ink and color on wood, with metal insets
2 1/4 x 22 3/8 in. (5.7 x 56.8 cm)
Gift of The Kronos Collections and Mr. and Mrs. Peter Findlay, 1979
This upper cover for a manuscript belongs to the Pala-Nepalese tradition. It comes from a palm-leaf edition of the Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra. Seated at the center is Prajnaparamita, the Goddess of Transcendent Wisdom and the personification of the text she holds in a raised hand. Two seated bodhisattvas, Padmapani Lokeshvara and Vajrasattva, attend to her. At the left are two miraculous episodes from the life of the Historical Buddha: his birth in the Lumbini grove and his subduing of the enraged elephant Nalagiri at Rajgir. Depicted at the right are the Buddha's first sermon at Sarnath, where he preached to an assembly of monks and bodhisattvas, and the miracle at Shravasti, where he caused a multiplicity of Buddhas to appear.