The Tender-Faced Bodhisattva Manjushri
Four pillars uphold the idea of Bodhisattvahood in Buddhism. Together with Avalokiteshvara, Kshitigarbha, and Samantabhadra, Bodhisattva Manjushri rules over all bodhisattvas. He is a deity of gentle bearing, characterised by a composure of supreme calm. Zoom in on the sweet face of the Bodhisattva in this thangka. Despite the weapons in His hands and the decisive stance of the arms that wield them, He looks on at the world with a gaze that is warm and profoundly comforting.
His skin is an arresting scarlet colour. Each of His three heads bears a five-spired crown and kundalas dangling from earlobes lengthened by lifetimes of sadhana and accumulated wisdom. His characteristic sword cuts through clouds of avidya (ignorance) and in one of His six hands He holds a manuscript of the Prajnaparamita. The pastel-coloured silks that clothe the Bodhisattva, the tender pink lotus of the pedestal, and the ice-blue fire-spewing creature He is seated on, make for a signature thangka-style colour palette.
At the ends of His aureole sit His two wives, the fairest, most well-endowed beings of the Buddhist paraloka. Across the aureole itself is painted a world of mythical creatures, culminating in a cherub of the tantric world. The peach-coloured lotuses peeking out from the edge of the aureole and the deep blue sky beyond, serve to tone down the aura of these creatures.
TIBETAN THANGKA PAINTING
SIZE OF PAINTED SURFACE 18.7 INCH X 22.5 INCH
SIZE WITH BROCADE 34 INCH X 50.5 INCH