|Date Range||1700 - 1799|
|Material||Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton|
|Collection||John & Karina Stewart|
Vajrapani, Bodhisattva: from a set of nine compositions depicting the Eight Great Bodhisattvas of the Mahayana Sutra tradition. The identity of the central figure for this painting set has not yet been verified but most likely it will be either Shakyamuni or Amitabha Buddha.
In this form Vajrapani is peaceful in appearance, dark blue in colour, he has one face and two hands. The right hand holds to the heart a stem of a flower blossom suppoting a half vajra scepter, gold in colour. The left hand rests on the thigh in a relaxed manner. The black hair is worn on the crown of the head with some falling loose, decorated with a gold crown and wish-fulfilling jewels. Adorned with gold earrings, a necklace and bracelets he is richly attired in various coloured silk garments of violet, green and orange. In a relaxed posture with the legs loosely placed he sits atop a red throne, not too elaborate. The head is framed by simple albeit large ring of light. In the shade of a large over-hanging tree he dwells placidly against a mountainous background.
In the foreground a standing lay attendant figure holds a tray supporting a vajra scepter and upright vajra-handled bell.
The Buddhas Amitabha, Medicine Buddha and Akshobhya are depicted in art to represent the additional enlightened figures in Mahayana Buddhism. Sets of bodhisattva paintings such as these are important in representing the realized students from the Mahayana sutra tradition. Another set of compositions is used to represent the historical Mahayana teachers such as Nagarjuna and Asanga.
Jeff Watt 6-2018