Tag Archives: art history

Kushana art : views from ancient India

         Between the late 1st century to 3rd century the Kushanas ruled parts of Central Asia,northern India,ancient Gandhara (Pakistan and Afghanistan). They had arrived in Bactria in 135 B.C a branch of the Yuch-chih, called Kushana or Kusana; residents of Kan-su region of China. They were forced westward by policies of the Chinese Han dynasty. The Kushanas founded an empire. Their deities and kings were depicted on coins. They had issued coins in gold. The Kushanas believed that the emperor was a divine being. Shrines were built for them. The Mat shrine near Mathura is one of them.

      Kushana art depicts princes, royal portraits, images of Lord Buddha, scenes from his life etc. The art is influenced by Persian, Greco-Roman and Indian styles. The Gandhara and Mathura styles have unique characteristics. Under Kanishka I Buddhist art flourished, and many stone images were produced. He was responsible for the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara to China.

        The Gandhara school of sculpture produced very natural looking figures influenced by the Hellenistic and Roman styles. Many  motifs were from Roman art, eg. vine scrolls,centaurs,cherubs bearing garlands etc. The sculpture was done in green phyllite and blue-green mica schist. Originally they were painted and gilded. The Buddha figures have youthful faces and resemble the Roman imperial statues.

       A gold coin below shows Oisho or Shiva with the ΑΔϷΟ (adsho Atar) on the left and Kanishka’s dynastic mark is seen on the right.

Kanishka I coin with Oisho/Shiva.

By I, PHGCOM, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2233710

 

 

Sculpture of a man, Kushana pertod.

Publiek domein, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=309963

      The sculpture below depicts from left to right, a Kushan devotee, the Bodhisattva Maitreya, Lord Buddha, the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and a Buddhist monk.

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An early Buddhist triad. 2nd-3rd century CE. Gandhara. Musée Guimet.,Paris.

By No machine-readable author provided. World Imaging assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

    The Mathura school evolved in Mathura in Uttar Pradesh with its unique stylisations. The figures were made in red mottled sandstone available from the quarries at Sikri.The Buddhas produces are large in size, standing in abhaya posture, head is shaven with a ushnisa; a small tiered protuberance in the form of a spiral. The drapery is close to the body and the left shoulder is bare. As the school developed the hair got depicted as flat, tight curls on the head. Jaina images are similar. The Kushana  kings are shown wearing long boots, a conical cap and a belted tunic.

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Jaina votive plaque, red sandstone,Mathura,National Museum, New Delhi

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The women figures carved during this period were sensuously beautiful with stylised proportions, depicted on pillars and gateways, yakshi-like in association with trees as symbols of fertility  or in toilet scenes.

 

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Toilet bearer, Mathura,Bharat Kala Bhavan, Varanasi.

By Ismoon (talk) 23:50, 23 January 2013 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Kushana period Sculpture of an intimate couple.jpg

Mithuna, 2nd century.

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

      The sculpture below depicts Queen Maya with female attendants and guards, one of whom holds a sword,  sleeping on a bed covered with a textile having floral scroll motif. Maya dreams of a six-tusked elephant that descends from heaven to enter her womb through her right side. the broken disc would have had an elephant. This miraculous conception marks the Buddha’s final birth into the world.

Dream of Queen Maya. Gandhara.Met.jpg

Dream of Queen Maya , Schist, Gandhara, Kushan period, 2nd century,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

By Ismoon (talk) – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46247608

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

Mauryan art : images from ancient India

          The Mauryan period in the history of the Indian subcontinent lasted between 323 B.C to about 125 B.C. It started when king Mahapadma of the Nandas was overpowered by Chandragupra Maurya in Magadha. He was guided by Chanakya whose teachings are revered even today. The Mauryan rule achieved great unity in ancient India, not just culturally but also politically. His grandson was King Ashoka who erected pillars at many places.

      The art of this time is evident from pillars, stupas and caves. Some remains of the capital city of Pataliputra are available which throw light on the styles prevalent. Greek influence is found on the style of art and architecture.

      The stupas at Sanchi,Sarnath and Amaravati were built as brick and masonry mounds during the reign of Ashoka. Pillars erected by him are found in Afghanistan,Nepal border,Odisha and Karnataka. The pillars were carved in two types of stone, red and white sandstone from Mathura; buff coloured, fine grained,sandstone with small black spots, from Chunar near Varanasi.

 The religious pillars were erected across the Gangetic plain, inscribed with Ashokan edicts. The capital part of the pillar had an animal; the lion capital of Sarnath, bull capital of Rampurva in Bihar, lion capital of Lauria-Nandangrah,also at Bihar.

Ashoka pillar,Vaishali, 3rd century, Bihar.

By mself – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1762981

       Pottery is associated with the Mauryan times; Northern Black Polished Ware is typical of early Mauryan era. It was made of alluvial clay either greyish or red. It was given burnished dressing , a jet black or deep grey glaze. This was used for dishes and bowls.

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Mauryan ringstone, with standing goddess. Northwest Pakistan. 3rd century B.C,British Museum,U.K

By No machine-readable author provided. World Imaging assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=342265

The Pataliputra capital shows Greek and Acheamenid influence. It is dated to 3rd century B.C. it has volute, bead, reel and honeysuckle motifs. The capital city had a large timber palisade around it. it had 64 gates and 570 towers as per Megasthenes. The towers were made of sandstone similar to Ashokan pillars. Mauryan architecture can still be seen at the Barabar mounts, grottoes of Lomas Rishi.

Pataliputra Palace capital by L A Waddell 1895.jpg

Pataliputra palace capital.

By L.A. WADDELL (1854-1938), author of the book and the photograph – “Report on the excavations at Pataliputra (Patna)” Calcutta, 1903, page 16 [1], Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52346710

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Statuettes of the Maurya period, 4th-3rd century B.C, Musée Guimet,Paris.

By No machine-readable author provided. World Imaging assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1145968

Rampurva bull capital side.jpg

Bull capital Rampurva, Indian Museum, Kolkata.

By User:Tinucherian – Composite of Wikipedia Commons [File:Indian Museum Kolkata 1527.jpg] (partial top, broken), and [File:Indian_Museum_Kolkata_1525.jpg] (base) with verification of design accuracy., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52572066

 

Female figure, northern India, Maurya period, c. 320-200 BCE, terracotta, HAA.JPG

Female figure, teracotta,Maurya period, North India.

By Hiart – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17609801

 

References :

  • The art of ancient India/Huntington,Susan,New York : Weatherhill,1985.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

Vajrayogini in Buddhism: depictions in art

Vajrayogini is a female Buddhist deity, a tantric  istadevata. She is capable of transforming the ordinary into the spiritual. She is a meditation deity in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is often called sarvabuddha dakini, the dakini who is the essence of all Buddhas. Her consort is Chakrasmavara. The term dakini is related to drumming in Sanskrit and means sky-goer in Tibetan language. In the Kathmandu valley of Nepal there are several important Newar temples of Vajrayogini. She has other forms like Vajravarahi and Chinnamasta.

       Vajrayogini is mostly depicted as a red young, strong female with a third eye of wisdom on her forehead.  She wears a garland of fifty human skulls. She holds a driguk, a vajra-handled knife in her right hand and a kapala or skull filled with blood in her left hand, which she drinks from. On her head she wears a crown made of five human skulls.  She stands in the centre of the blazing fire of exalted wisdom.  Her right leg tramples the chest of the red Kalaratri and her left legs treads on the the black Bhairava.

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Vajrayogini, brass and gilt copper alloy, 18th century,  Rubin Museum of Art, New York.

Source and attribution : flickr.com/photos/andryn2006/22666470775

           

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Vajrayogini , gilt bronze, 18th century,Nepal, Honolulu Museum of Art,USA.

von MyName ( Hiart ( Diskussion )) (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

     Vajrayogini  with her red body symbolises her inner fire.  She has only one face which means she has realised that all phenomena are of one nature in emptiness.  She has three eyes which depict that she has the ability to see past, present and future. The knife she holds in her right hand can cut through delusions and obstacles of living beings. In Vajrayana Buddhism she appears in a mandala to her followers which they visualise according to a sadhana describing the practice of the particular tantra. Many collections have sadhanas connected with Vajrayogini but the guhyasamayasadhanamala contains only Vajrayogini sadhanas for practice.

Plik:Painted 19th century Tibetan mandala of the Naropa tradition, Vajrayogini stands in the center of two crossed red triangles, Rubin Museum of Art.jpg

Vajrayogini ,Tibetan mandala,19th century, Rubin Museum of Art,USA.

By Anonymous, improved by Poke2001 – Rubin Museum of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3589258

File:Sarva Buddha Dakini 06.jpg

Vajrayogini or Sarvabuddha Dakini , copper alloy sculpture, early 19th century, Tibet.

Joe Mabel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Vajrayogini, board carving, Tibet.

By Original carving and photograph ShahJahanUploaded on Commons by :Miuki – Self-published work by ShahJahan, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1512565

References:

  • wikipedia.org

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author

Jataka in art : previous lives of the Buddha

    The word Jataka means history of birth. The Jataka tales refers to the stories of Lord Buddha’s previous birth in human and animal form. The tales depict some virtue the future Buddha is believed to possess. Lord Buddha has undergone many births before he was born as Siddhartha Gautama who became Buddha,the enlightened one, whose teachings formed the basis of the religion Buddhism.

       The Jataka tales form a part of the Pali canon in Theravada Buddhism.The Jatakamala in Sanskrit by Aryasura has 34 Jatakas which are depicted in Borubodur,Indonesia. The Jataka tales are roughly dated to 4th century B.C. The Theravada Jataka comprises of 547 poems.

     The Jataka tales include :The ass in the lion’s skin, The banyan deer, The cock and the cat, The crab and the crane, The twelve sisters, The Vessantaka jataka,The swan with golden feathers,Prince Sattva,King Sibi,The King’s white elephant,The lion and the woodpecker,The ox who envied the pig, The measure of rice among many others. Many versions of the stories exist in different cultures. Some are similar to tales in  the Hindu Panchatantra.

  In some countries like Cambodia,Myanmar,Thailand, Sri Lanka the tales are enacted in dance and theatre; mostly the longer tales like Vessantara jataka. 

The last ten Jataka tales, the Mahanipata jatakas are to do with the human incarnations of the Buddha in his previous lives,his last ten births before Siddhartha Gautama. Mahajanaka jataka is one of these. The others include the the stories of him as Prince Temiya, Suvanna sama, Nimi,Mahosadha,Bhuridatta, Canda Kumara,Brahma Narada,Vidhura Pandita, and Prince Vessantara. The last ten Jataka tales represent the ten virtues of renunciation,vigour,benevolence, absolute determination,insight,morality,patience,equanimity,reality and generosity.

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Jakata depiction,tale of jackal and otters,2nd century,Bharhut,Madhya Pradesh.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, http://www.archive.org/details/jatakatalesfranc00fran

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Mahajanaka jataka,Ajanta Caves,7th century,Maharashtra.

By Meister des Mahâjanaka Jâtaka [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Jataka depiction,9th century,Candi Mendut,Central Java,Indonesia.

By Photo Dharma from Penang, Malaysia (033 Jataka Tale) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Tiger Jataka, 4th to 9th century,Dunhuang,China.

By Anonymous artists of the Northern Wei period; I created the file (Wall Paintings at Dunhuang) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsDas Panchuposatha-Jataka 6207.JPG

Jataka depiction,terracotta tile,Myanmar,13th century,Museum of Asian art,Berlin-Dahlem.

By Bin im Garten – Own work (own picture), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14739741

File:Thangka of Buddha with the One Hundred Jataka Tales, Tibet, 13th-14th century.jpg

Buddha with the One Hundred Jataka Tales,Thangka painting 13th-14th century,Tibet.

By Anonymous (Christie’s Images) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Jataka Tales,Thangka painting,  18th-19th century, Bhutan.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Vessantara Jataka,depiction of Vessantara giving away the chariot,late 19th century,Thailand.

Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Jataka, La chouette et le corbeau en NB - 1.jpg

Jataka tale,drawing,Y.Coudert,21st century,France.

By Yvain Coudert (http://data.abuledu.org/wp/?LOM=26971) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

References :

  1. wikipedia.org

 

Posted by:

Soma Ghosh

 

© author

 

 

 

Dhyani Buddhas in art : some depictions

      The Dhyani Buddhas are representations of the five qualities of the Buddha. They    are also called the Five Wisdom Thatagatas. In Vajrayana Buddhism they figure as an important subject in the mandalas.  The Dhyani Buddhas are aspects of the dharmakaya or dharma-body which embodies the principle of enlightenment in Buddhism.

The five Dhyani Buddhas are Vairochana,Amogasiddhi,Amitabha,Ratnasambhava and Akshobhya. Vairochana is associated with space,all accomodating,teaching the dharma; Amogasiddhi is associated with air,all accomplishing and represents the wisdom of perfect practice. Amitabha  is associated with fire,inquisitiveness and represents the wisdom of observation; Ratnasambhava is associated with earth, giving and represents the wisdom of equanimity; Akshobhya is associated with water,non-dualism and represents the  wisdom of reflection.

The Dhyani Buddhas are sometimes called the Five celestial Jinas or Conquerors. They usually have the urna,the usnisa and the long lobed ears, which are among the 32 lakshanas  or superior marks of a Buddha. They are bare headed with short curly hair with a shawl draped over one shoulder and arm.

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Five Dhyani Buddhas,painting.

By Unknown – http://www.fodian.net/world/buddhas/5b/5ba.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16961889

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Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara  seated on a lion,in lalitasana , snake wrapped vajra scepter, lotus flower, 5 Dhyani Buddhas are also seen, statue, black shist, Bihar, India, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, USA.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/

Vairochana is mostly depicted with the dharmachakra mudra, Akshobhya with bhumi sparsha, Ratnasambhava with varada, Amitabha with dhyana and Amoghasiddhi with abhaya mudra.

Altar Painting of Vairocana (Treasure 1363).jpg

Altar painting of Vairocana,after 1590,Korea.

By Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea – http://www.cha.go.kr/korea/heritage/search/Directory_Image.jsp?VdkVgwKey=12,13630000,36&imgfname=b1363000036001.jpg&dirname=treasure&photoname=%BA%F1%B7%CE%C0%DA%B3%AA%BA%D2%B5%B5, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16341797

Amoghasiddhi, 14th century,Tibet, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco,USA. 

By jaredzimmerman (WMF) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33809747

Amitabha and Eight Great Bodhisattvas (Freer Gallery of Art).jpg

Amitabha and Eight Great Bodhisattvas, Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), Korea,Freer Gallery of Art,USA.

By unidentified Goryeo-Dynasty artist – http://www.asia.si.edu/collections/singleObject.cfm?ObjectNumber=F1906.269, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29190158

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 Dhyani Buddha Akshobhya,painting.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Depicted below is a thangka of Dhyani Buddha Akshobhya. The background consists of multiple images of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

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Dhyani Buddha Akshobhya, thangka, late 13th century,Tibet, Honolulu Museum of Art,USA. 

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ratnasambhava, Kadampa Monastery, Central Tibet, 1150-1225, LACMA,USA.

By anonymus – LACMA, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26940160

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.
  • Gordon,Antoinette K/The iconography of Tibetan Lamaism,New Delhi : Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers,1998.

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Manjusri in art : painted depictions

     Manjusri is a bodhisattva; a yidam in Tibetan Buddhism and associated with prajna. Manjusri  means gentle glory, he is considered a youth Manjusrikumarabhuta. He is an important Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism. He figures in the Prajnaparamita sutra  and symbolises prajna. He is accorded Vimala,his pure land as per the Lotus sutra  located in the East. He is a meditational deity and is a fully enlightened Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. He figures in Manjusrimula-kalpa and Manjusrinamasamgiti. His consort is Sarasvati in some traditions.

    Manjusri is male and wields  a flaming sword in his right hand which is symbolic of cutting down ignorance. In his left hand he holds the Prajnaparamita sutra supported by a lotus symbolising attainment of ultimate realisation from the blossoming of wisdom. In Japanese and Chinese art, his sword is replaced by a ruyi  scepter. In China he is called Wenshu and is associated with the mountain Wutai. In Tibet he manifests in many Tantric forms; Yamantaka is popular in Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. He is called Monju in Japan. In Indonesia he was revered by the Sailendra dynasty,patrons of Mahayana Buddhism, during the 8th century.

   The non-tantric forms of Manjusri have one head and two arms.The usual form is white or yellow, seated in dhyanasana, meditative posture with left hand holding a pustaka or book,right hand holds khadga or sword,maybe seated on a lion;sometimes in dhyanasana vitarka mudra, holding stem of lotus with pustaka on the flower,right hand having the khadga. 

   The dharmachakramanjusri  is depicted in dhyanasana , in dharmachakramudra,  with stems of lotuses supporting khadga and pustaka. Another form  Manughosa is white,seated in dhyanasana,vitarka and varada mudras, holding lotus stems with pustaka and khadga at shoulder level. The other forms include maharajalilamanjusri Dharmasankhasamadhimanjusri.  The tantric forms have one head and more than two arms or more than one head and two or more arms. Manjuvajra is also a tantric form having three heads ,six arms. Yamanataka  rhas nine heads,34 arms,16 legs and is fierce from to conquer Yama, the God of death.

File:Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Manjusri Bodhisattva.jpeg

Painting of Manjusri, Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript, Ranjana script, Nalanda, Bihar,  700-1100 CE.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri,Yulin Caves,7th -14th century, Gansu, China.

By Anonymous artist-craftsmen of the Tang-Yuan Dynasties (Yulin Caves, Gansu Province, China) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri debates Vimalakirti,  Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra,  Mogao Caves,Tang Dynasty,Dunhuang,7th-8th century, China.

By File created by user “pandahermit.” Artwork created by anonymous ancient source. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Hachiji-Monju/Ashtasikha Manjusri with eight attendants,13th century, Japan.

By English: Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri with another bodhisattva and donors,painting,13th century,Tibet,Walters Museum.

By Anonymous (Tibet) – Walters Art Museum: Home page  Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18843075

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Mandala of the forms of Manjusri,14th century,Tibet.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manjusri and Sarasvati,mural, Padmasambhava Buddhist Vihara, Namdroling Monastery,20th century,Karnataka,India

By Christoper J. Fynn (Own work (photograph)- artist of mural anonymous) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Manjusri Painted.jpg

Manjusri,painting by Cecilia at Buddhafield Festival, 2006

By John Wigham (originally posted to Flickr as Manjusri) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.
  • Gordon,Antoinette K/The iconography of Tibetan Lamaism,New Delhi : Mumshiram Manoharlal Publishers,1998.

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Vasudhara in art :Goddess of prosperity

              Vasudhara is the Goddess of wealth in Buddhism. Vasudhara literally means stream of gemsVasudhara is the Buddhist giver of wealth, similar to the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi.

 She is usually depicted seated in lalitasana (royal posture of ease) on a lotus with one foot tucked in towards her and the other hanging at the lotus base but resting on a small treasure.Her right hands make a gesture of generosity and holds a spray of gems. In her left hands she holds a manuscript,the Prajnaparamita-sutra, a sheaf of grain, and a water-pot. She can have two, four or six arms. She is a goddess of fertility and prosperity, and a consort of the wealth-god Jambhala. She is highly revered among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu valley in Nepal.In this region she is a common household deity and it is believed that her worship brings wealth and stability. In Tibetan art she appears more commonly with two arms.

    She has been depicted as a beautiful woman in Buddhist art and can be identified as the bodhisattva with the elaborate head-dress and jewellery. Her skin has a golden hue in sculpture and painted images.This colour is related to  precious metals and symbolises opulence and fertility. Vashudhara had varied depictions; yellow Vasudhara (solitary) Dharani Tradition, yellow Vasudhara (solitary) Vajrapanjara Tradition, yellow Vasudhara (solitary, standing) Jamari Tradition, yellow cow-herd  Vasudhara (solitary, standing), red Manohara Vasudhara (solitary), red Vasudhara (solitary) Sakya tradition, yellow Vasudhara (six hands, solitary) Vasudhara with five deities and Vasudhara with nineteen deities.

Vasudhara, gilded copper sculptrure inlaid with semiprecious stones, 11th century, Nepal,Arthur M. Sackler Gallery,Washingfton,USA.

By Daderot – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26697696

        When Goddess Vasudhara is two armed and single  faced, she has a golden hued body, representing the earth element, Ratnasambhava in her crown, sometimes two eyes or sometimes three eyes which represent perfect awareness, understanding, compassion, wisdom and insight into the past, present and future.

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Vasudhara, copper alloy sculpture with gemstones, late 12th-early 13th century,Nepal,LACMA,USA.

 

Attribution : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark6mauno

           With her three left hands she holds a small treasure-vase, for long life and wealth,  a tuft of grain, for abundant harvest and a sacred text to grant wisdom. In her hands, Vasudhara holds a variety of objects attributed to her. Her first right hand makes the gesture of charity or the varada mudra,an another can be seen holding jewelled lotus buds.

 

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Vasudhara,copper alloy sculpture with gemstones ,12th century,Nepal, LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Image result for vasudhara buddhism

Vasudhara Mandala, 14th century, Nepal.

By Jasaraja Jirili (Sotheby’s) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Prince of Wales Museum Bombay si0092.jpg

Vasudhara, 14th century, Nepal,CSMVS Museum, Mumbai.

By G41rn8 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.
  • http://www.himalayanart.org

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Soma Ghosh

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