Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Manjushri (Bodhisattva & Buddhist Deity) - White (Siddhaikavira)

འཇམ་དཔལ་དབྱངས། 文殊师利菩萨
(item no. 846)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Sakya
Size 53.34x35.56cm (21x14in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1999.13.5
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Deity

Appearance: Peaceful

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Manjushri, Sita (Tibetan: jam pal kar po. English: the White One of Glorious Melodious Speech), the bodhisattva of wisdom, from the Siddhaikavira Tantra in the tradition of Mati Panchen.

Sanskrit: Manjushri Tibetan: Jam pal yang

"...from...an ocean of nectar, white and cool, with many elephants, geese and water fowl sporting and playing, calling out with sweet sounds, in the middle of that...[arises] a lotus with a stem, branches, leaves, fruit and a marvelous sweet fragrance. Above [arises] a moon disc seat with cool rays of light shining forth to the ten directions. Again [the light] collects ... and from this collection ... is Manjushri; white like the autumn moon, a boy of eight years with a youthful form, having five knots [of hair]. The right hand is in the mudra of supreme generosity. The left holds a blue lotus to the heart, blossoming at the left shoulder and marked with the Prajnaparamita book. Seated firmly with the feet in vajra posture, with the major marks and blazing with light, adorned with various jewel ornaments and wearing white silks." (Rinchen Gyaltsen, 15th century).

Beautiful, youthful and calm in expression, white of colour, he has one face and two hands. The hair is piled on the crown of the head with some falling loose across the shoulders. The right hand is extended forward atop the knee performing the mudra (gesture) of generosity with the palm facing outward. At the heart, delicately held between the fingers of the left hand, a green lotus stem rises above the left shoulder supporting a pink blossom topped with the Prajnaparamita sutra. A gold and jewel crown, hair ribbons, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets beautifully adorn the body. Draped across the shoulders a blue scarf twists around the arms and unfurls at both sides. The lower body is covered with a short orange skirt and beneath that a long skirt of rainbow colours. With the legs folded in vajra posture, right over left, above a moon disc and multi-coloured lotus blossom seat rising from a blue lotus pond he sits surrounded by a circle of radiant red light.

In the lotus pond below two elephants, white and grey, sport in the water amongst pink blossoms and waterfowl. Along the green earthen bank piles of heaped jewels display an array of colour while the deep azure blue sky above is decorated with billowing clouds in shades of white, green and blue.

The Siddhaikavira (Solitary Hero) Tantra was first translated into Tibetan in the 11th century at the time of Lord Atisha and is classified as a Kriya Tantra. It describes numerous forms of Manjushri along with a host of other deities both peaceful and wrathful: Sarasvati, Jambhala, Vasudhara, Achala, etc.

Lineage of Teachers: Lord Manjushri, Acharya Jetari, Maha Pandita Mati, Kashmiri Pandita Shakyashri, Bodhishri, Devashri, Sanggye Zhonnu, Sonam Sherab, Khenchen Sherab Gonpo, Sharchen Yeshe Gyaltsen (Ludingpa), Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382-1456), etc.

Jeff Watt 1-2000

Wisdom Energy. Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2000.

Related Items
Exhibition Appearances
Exhibition: Wutaishan, Pilgrimage to Five Peak Mountain

Iconography: Buddhist Iconography Main Page

Thematic Sets
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri, White (Masterworks)
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri (Popular Forms)
Subject: Iconographic Bodhisattva
Iconography: Three Moods & Gender Page
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri Main Page
Iconography: Peaceful Appearance
Subject: Deity Figures with Books
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri (Three Lower Tantras)
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri Iconography
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri, White (Siddhaikavira Tantra)
Buddhist Deity: Manjushri, White, Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 5