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Entries for month: October 2012

Three Bodhisattva & the God Indra - Added

October 31, 2012 ·

A Bodhisattva in a 'relaxed posture' is a way of describing the sitting manner of the figures of Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara, Maitreya and the God Indra. These four in particular, and with examples, portray a specific look and attitude of a seated bodhisattva (plus one god). It is possible that other bodhisattvas in the same posture will be identified.

Tags: additions · Sculpture

Maitreya in a 'Relaxed' Posture - Added

October 31, 2012 ·

 Maitreya along with Manjushri and Avalokiteshvara are sometimes depicted in a relaxed posture with the left leg drawn up and the right knee raised. The right arm and hand are casually resting atop the knee. This posture is also found with the Nepalese depictions of the worldly God Indra

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Avalokiteshvara in a 'Relaxed' Posture - Added

October 31, 2012 ·

 Avalokiteshvara, like Manjushri and Maitreya, is sometimes depicted in an almost identical relaxed pose with the right knee raised.

Tags: additions

Avalokiteshvara in a 'Thinking' Posture - Added

October 31, 2012 ·

 Avalokiteshvara, as a sculptural representation, in a 'Thinking' posture is commonly found in North Western India, Kashmir and Western Tibet. The form is characterized by the figure seated in a relaxed posture typically with the left leg pendant and the right drawn up. The most significant characteristics are the right arm with the elbow resting on the knee and hand raised with the index finger placed against the side of the face - head slightly tilted to the right. There are a number of different variations shown with the examples on the gallery page.

Tags: additions · Sculpture

Manjushri 'Leg Pendant' - Added

October 28, 2012 ·

From among the many sculptural depictions of  the figure of Manjushri, some have the right leg or left leg pendant. In these depictions the general appearance of Manjushri portrays him holding a sword and book, or sometimes with the hands in the Dharma Teaching gesture.

There are several Tantric texts describing Manjushri with this general physical appearance. One such text is from the Bari Gyatsa of Bari Lotsawa Rinchen Drag (1040-1112) and further elucidated upon by Konchog Lhundrub (1497-1557) in his edited version.

[8] "Vidhyadhara Pitaka Samkshepta: [Above] a lotus and moon is white Manjushri Arapachana. Holding a sword and a book, the same ornaments and garments, seated in the lalitaraja [posture]."

The important points in this very short translated description are the mention of the sword and book, and more importantly the 'lalitaraja' posture which states clearly a non-vajrasana posture and non-sattvasana posture. 'Lalitaraja' is sometimes translated as a posture of 'royal ease' which is characterized by one leg, left or right, extended forward.

Of the ten images below six of them have the hands folded in front of the heart in the Teaching gesture. Four of the depictions have a sword and book either held directly in the hands or placed above utpala flowers with the stems held in the hands.

Tags: additions

Manjushri 'Standing' - Added

October 28, 2012 ·

Manjushri as a sculptural figure fashioned from metal, clay or wood, can be depicted in a standing posture. The majority of such images represent a non-iconic (non-Tantra) form of the deity that simply portrays Manjushri as an important figure and student of the Buddha from the Mahayana Sutra literature.

Standing representations of Manjushri might also be created to accompany statues of the Buddha where a bodhisattva figure would stand on the right and left side of the central Buddha, or possibly the figure of Amitabha Buddha. The most common accompanying figures are Avalokiteshvara, Maitreya, Vajrapani and Manjushri.

Tags: additions

Manjushri 'Holding a Book' - Added

October 28, 2012 ·

Manjushri 'holding a book' is an iconographic characteristic of several different forms of Manjushri - all of which are meditational deities (yidam, ishtadevata). These forms according to Tantric classification belong to the Kriya, Charya and Yoga Tantras. Early textual descriptions, prior to the 13th century, often place the text of the Prajnaparamita in the left hand and next to the heart of Manjushri.

Over the centuries the depicted iconography of these Manjushri forms changes. The Prajnaparamita book gets moved, relocated, to the top of a blue utpala flower blossoming next to the left ear, with the stem held between the ring finger and thumb, in the right hand of Manjushri. The most popular forms of Manjushri undergo the relocation of the text. Some less popular and much less commonly depicted forms of Manjushri are still described and depicted holding the text but the majority of depictions have adopted the new utpala and Prajnaparamita iconography.

Tags: Manjushri · Sculpture · additions

9th Ngor Khenchen Lhachog Sengge - Updated

October 28, 2012 ·

Lachog Sengge, 1468-1535, was a religious teacher, scholar and a patron of the arts. There are numerous examples of paintings in museum and private collections around the world that were commissioned by Lhachog Sengge. The objects are all identified by inscription along the bottom front or on the reverse. Many of the paintings are dedicated to his personal teachers while others are dedicated to lineage teachers of the more distant past.

Tags: updates · portraits · Sculpture

Manjushri in a Relaxed Posture - Added

October 25, 2012 ·

Manjushri in a relaxed sitting posture is a popular sculptural form in India, Nepal and Tibet. In this iconographic style Manjushri is typically depicted in a seated posture with the right knee raised and the wrist or elbow of the right arm resting atop the knee. The left hand is pressed downward onto the seat slightly behind the horizontal left leg. The upper torso of the body and head generally display a pronounced curve imitating the 'tribanga' form of standing figures.

Both hands can each hold the stem of a flower blossom. Usually the right hand holds a lotus blossom and the left an utpala (lily, iris). In a number of examples the left flower blossom supports a book or text representing the Prajnaparmita Sutras. The sculptural form representing the text on the left flower is sometimes in the shape of a cylinder. This is actually depicting a metal tube which is the outer box or container for the sutra text.

Again, with some examples of Manjushri in this form he is wearing a type of meditation belt extending around the waist on the proper left side and circling the right leg just below the knee.

There are iconographic examples of Avalokiteshvara which an appear very similar to Manjushri as depicted in these examples.

Tags: Manjushri · Sculpture · additions

Arhats & Arhat Appearance - Updated

October 20, 2012 ·

Arhat (Tibetan: ne tan): a Sanskrit term for Buddhist saints, more correctly in Tibetan meaning elder or 'sthavira' in Sanskrit. The arhats  represent the earliest followers of the Buddha, always found depicted in a group of sixteen, they are painted on cloth, wall murals, and fashioned of metal, stone, clay, or wood.

An early iconographic source for the individual descriptions of the arhats is the verse text Praise to the Sixteen Arhats attributed to the Kashmiri teacher Shakyashri Bhadra of the 12th/13th century.

The earliest known paintings in Tibet are found as wall murals in Dratang Monastery in Central Tibet. However, the Dratang arhat paintings do not appear to depict the group of sixteen which gain popularity in Tibetan art some time later.

Tags: updates · arhats