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Gum tempera and ink on wood and palm leaves
Overall: 6.5 x 57 x 1.5 cm (2 9/16 x 22 7/16 x 9/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1938.301
Books of the Perfection of Wisdom were worshiped as sacred objects and personified as the Goddess of Wisdom, Prajnaparamita, the mother of all Buddhas.
This manuscript consists of 188 palm-leaf folios held between wooden book covers. It was commissioned as a pious gift by a Mahayana Buddhist monk from Nepal named Aryashrimittra at the famous monastic university of Vikramashila in northeastern India. The Sanskrit text, fundamental to Mahayana Buddhism, discusses the concept of emptiness.The inner sides of the book covers are painted with images of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and other enlightend beings, as are three pairs of facing folios at the beginning, middle, and end of the manuscript. The paintings appear to have been made by a Nepalese artist and the text written by a scribe from northeastern India.
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