Yellow steatite, kaolinite
Overall: 7.3 x 4.7 x 2.5 cm (2 7/8 x 1 7/8 x 1 in.)
Edwin R. and Harriet Pelton Perkins Memorial Fund 1987.44
A devotee would have carried this small devotional item as a personal, portable shrine.
This miniature stele shows Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, in union (yab yum) with his consort (sakti). The intimacy between the deities, in accordance with Vajrayana Buddhism, is symbolic of the union between god and devotee. This form of Manjusri, sometimes referred to as Manjuvara, shows both deities with three heads and six arms holding their attributes: a sword (khadga), a bow (dhanus), an arrow (bana), and a lotus (padma).
The sculpture is made in yellow, soft-to-carve steatite (kaolinite), a stone frequently used in the northern regions of India and Burma. The exceptionally fine carving, executed with great precision and attention to detail, reflects the Pala style instrumental in the development of the Himalayan schools of sculpture.
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