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Period: 11th to 12th century
Medium: brass
Origin: Western Tibet
Dimensions: total height: 21 cm; base width: 6 cm

This statue of the bodhisattva Mañjuśrī (or Manjushri) is made of brass. Wearing a skirt-like garment, the figure has a gilded face and is adorned with a bejeweled crown, necklace, and bracelets. The bodhisattva has broad shoulders, a slender waist, and a bare upper torso. Raising a sword high above his head with his right hand, he twirls the stem of a lotus in his left. The lotus serves as a support for a sutra. The figure’s feet rest upon a round pedestal, which is supported by a large blooming lotus and a square plinth that features two lions on the front panel. Behind the bodhisattva is an upside-down U-shaped nimbus with a flame pattern that is topped with a canopy. The figure’s slender body is characteristic of early Western Tibetan statues.

During the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), the statue was labeled by the court administration with a strip of yellow paper inscribed with Chinese and Manchu. The Chinese text indicates the statue is made of brass, depicts the bodhisattva Manjushri, was presented by the Panchen Erdeni, was received by the palace on the fifteenth day of the fifth lunar month of the forty-fifth year (1780) of the Qianlong reign (1736–1795), and was brought from the Jiangnan region. Based on the information provided by the original yellow label, the bodhisattva was presented by the Sixth Panchen Lama Lobsang Palden Yeshe (1738–1780) during the emperor’s travels before his audience in Beijing.

At the time, the Qianlong Emperor was in the middle of his fifth southern tour. He returned to Beijing on the ninth day of the fifth lunar month. With the inscription indicating that the emperor brought the statue up from Jiangnan, he must have received it before the day of his return.

Chinese entry by Li Zhonglu
Translated and edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying

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