Luxury Design, Past & Present
Circa 15th century
5 in. (12.7 cm)
Provenance: From a Midwestern Estate
Richly gilt and seated in dhyanasana on a double-lotus base, his hands in dharmachakramudra (the gesture of teaching), wearing a dhoti with beaded hems and jewelry, his serene face with raised urna and smiling mouth, his hair in a high chignon, secured by an elaborate foliate tiara, flanked by two lotus stalks supporting his sword and book. The base is sealed with a double vajra.
"Manjusri, bodhisattva of wisdom, is one of the most important iconic figures in Mahayana art and literature. He represents the wisdom of prajna, which is not confined by knowledge or concepts.
His Sanskrit name means "He Who Is Noble and Gentle." He is often portrayed as a young man holding a sword in his right hand and the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Wisdom) Sutra in or near his left hand. Sometimes he rides a lion, which highlights his princely and fearless nature."