Vajracharya Priest’s Crown


Not on view

The conical crown is unique to Newar Buddhism and represents older, now-lost Indian Buddhist practices. This example is exceptional for its complexity: It is dominated by a series of diadem plaques depicting various emanations of the wisdom bodhisattva Manjushri, who is both benign and wrathful, and eight smaller plaques of gift-granting goddesses. A five-pronged thunderbolt (vajra) scepter surmounts the crown. This unique iconography indicates that the crown was designed for enacting rites dedicated to invoking Manjushri.

Vajracharya Priest’s Crown, Gilt-copper alloy inlaid with semiprecious stones, lapis lazuli, and turquoise, Nepal

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