Manjushri Surrounded by Deities
MediumPigments, gilding on sized cloth
DimensionsWork : 4 1/2 x 3 3/4 x 1/4 in. (11.43 cm x 9.53 cm x 6 mm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
As the embodiment of wisdom, Manjushri often functions as a meditational deity in Mongolian Buddhism. This painting places Manjushri at the center of a composition that includes four additional meditational deities who are related to Manjushri in some way. The figure in the upper left corner is Shakyamuni Buddha, who is the ultimate source of Manjushri’s wisdom. Across from Shakyamuni in the upper right corner is the monk Tsongkhapa, who was a human incarnation of Manjushri and the founder of the Gelug order that became dominant in Mongolia and Tibet after the 16th century. The figure in the lower right corner is Yama Dharmaraja, a wrathful, buffalo-headed protector deity who was once subdued by Manjushri, while the figure in the lower left corner is Supreme Secret Hayagriva, a horse-headed meditational deity who is related to Manjushri’s close ally, Avalokiteshvara. This painting’s probable use as a devotional object is indicated by five consecration mantras reading oṃ āh hūm that are inscribed on the reverse side of the painting behind each of the figures.