Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: Deity Figures with Books

Deity Figures with Books | Weird & Off Topics Page

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Book Iconography Description
- Manjushri
- Prajnaparamita
- Samantabhadra
- Sarasvati
- Bodhisattva Figures
- Historical Teachers
- Confusions
- Masterworks
- Others...

Several deities hold the Prajnaparamita book as a principal attribute namely Manjushri and Prajnaparamita. Some forms of Sarasvati can also hold a book. According to Sanskrit and Tibetan literature only Samkshipta Guhyaka Manjushri from the Namasangiti Tantra and Prajnaparamita holds two books, one in each hand above an utpala flower, however a Pala sculpture of Manjushri riding a lion also depicts two books carried above the shoulders.

Early forms of Arapachana Manjushri show the book as held in the left hand placed at the heart. Later forms of the figure depict the book above an utpala flower blossoming at the level of the left ear with the stem of the flower held in the left hand again placed at the heart.

Jeff Watt 11-2018

(The images below are only a selection of examples).