Iconographical Drawing of the Mandala of the Wisdom King Aizen


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 223

This drawing describes a mandala used in ritual to prevent disaster and increase happiness. Fierce and angry at center, the Wisdom King Aizen is joined by three bodhisattvas, identifiable by their circular body haloes, and three other Wisdom Kings, each wrathful like Aizen and surrounded by flames and carrying weapons. The monk who transcribed this scroll in 1107 at the temple Shōren’in in Kyoto left indications of which colors, white or red, were to be used for the flesh of several of the deities. Though not noted, blue was conventionally employed for the Wisdom Kings at lower left and right.

Iconographical Drawing of the Mandala of the Wisdom King Aizen, Hanging scroll; ink on paper, Japan

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