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Star Mandala


Not on view

Star mandalas were used in rituals to call upon the power of stellar deities to avert disaster and prolong life. The mandala centers on Shaka-kinrin, a manifestation of the Historical Buddha, holding a golden wheel. Sixteen deities closely surround him. They represent the seven stars of the Big Dipper and the Nine Luminaries (the sun and moon, the planets Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury, and personifications of two points in the moon’s orbit). The next group of deities, on a green ground, are those associated with the twelve constellations of the zodiac. Finally, the outermost group of twenty-eight deities represents the Lunar Mansions, which track the moon’s orbit.

Star Mandala, Hanging scroll; ink, gold and color on silk, Japan

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