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Tantric Buddha Vairochana as Vajrasattva

Tantric Buddha Vairochana as Vajrasattva

c. 1150–1200

Gum tempera, ink, and gold on cloth

Overall: 111 x 73 cm (43 11/16 x 28 3/4 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1989.104

Location

Exhibition

Himalayan art rotation

Did you know?

A mantra written behind the figures invokes their living presence in the thangka painting.

Description

The seated Buddha dominating the composition is identified as Vairochana because of his hand gesture, the mudra communicating supreme enlightenment in which the index finger of one hand is grasped by the fingers of the opposite hand. His golden color and the tiny vajra—a six-pronged ritual object representing a thunderbolt—balanced on top of his finger suggest that he is in the guise of Vajrasattva, the summation of all enlightened beings. In his crown is the image of a monk, who is probably the guru of the donor, the small monastic figure at the lower right next to the lotus pedestal.

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