Himalayan Art Resources

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

འཇམ་དཔལ་དབྱངས། 文殊师利菩萨
(item no. 88652)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1200 - 1299
Lineages Buddhist
Size 31.45cm (12.38in) high
Material Metal, Painted Face/Hair, Precious Stone, Stone Inset: Turquoise
Collection Asia Society
Catalogue # acc. #1979.046, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
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 as a meditational deity, from the Siddhaikavira Mahatantraraja [Toh 544]. Although there are a number of different forms of Manjushri that have a white appearance generally when referring to a white Manjushri it refers to either the popular Siddhaikavira or the Arapachana - not to be confused with the orange Arapachana. (See the Palpung composition with a blue upper garment).

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." (Mati Tradition, Rinchen Gyaltsen, 15th century).

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 or Charya Tantra. It describes numerous forms of Manjushri along with a host of other deities both peaceful and wrathful: Sarasvati, Jambhala, Vasudhara, Achala, etc.

Confusions in Identification with Other Deities:
- White Tara
- Padmapani
- Others...

Jeff Watt 9-2002 [updated 3-2017]

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