Avalokiteshvara as Shadakshari Lokeshvara ,


Shadakshari Lokeshvara is the bodhisattva of compassion (Avalokiteshvara) in his role as the lord of the six realms of existence (hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, demigods, and gods). He personifies the well-known Sanskrit invocation om mani padme hum, or "hail to the jewel in the lotus," which is found at the top of the hanging beneath the seed syllable hrih, thought to contain the essence of the bodhisattva. The Tibetan-language invocation to the goddess Mahashri at the bottom is often found in the art of the Yongle period.
Impeccably woven in a single color, the hanging's damask weave structure and silk fiber impart a certain luminosity to the bodhisattva, lotus, and inscriptions, but they also make the picture somewhat elusive. The image seems to shimmer and change depending upon the light and the viewer's position. A photograph of the center of the hanging is shown here for your reference.

Not on view

Public Domain

Object Details

Period: Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

Date: early 15th century

Culture: China

Medium: Silk twill damask

Dimensions: 101 x 51 1/2 in. (256.5 x 130.8 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Woven

Credit Line: Purchase, Sir Joseph Hotung Gift, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.271

Signature: The Sanskrit inscription at the top of the hanging occurs in two lines. The first consists of the letter hrih, a seed syllable associated with the deity. The second line is a six-syllable mantra: om mani pa dme hum (Hail to the jewel lotus).

The Tibetan inscription is a verse, which has been variously translated as follows:

1. "May there be the auspicious blessings of the Three Jewels / Which [bring] well-being in the daytime, well-being at night, / And also well-being at midday -- / Well-being always, day and night!"
Translation by Thomas F. Yarnall of the verse on the piece in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago (fig. 2).

2. "Joy in the morning, joy in the evening; / When the sun is at its zenith, joy; / The Three Jewels are a joy day and night, / May they be auspicious."
Translation by Richard Kohn of the verse on the piece in the collection of The San Francisco Asian Art Museum (fig. 3).
[ Jacqueline Simcox Ltd. , London, until 2002; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Defining Yongle, Imperial Art in Early Fifteenth-Century China," April 1, 2005–July 10, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Textiles of the Ming Dynasty," February 11, 2009–August 2, 2009.

Asian Art (35,879)