Mahavairochana — Indo-Nepali Style Bronze with Gold Gilt

This gilt and painted figure of Vairochana is distinct in its six-armed form. More frequently depicted with just two hands, one holds an upright Gold Vajra to the heart and the other, an upturned bell with a vajra handle held close to the hip. Scarves and flowing silks drape his attire; he sits in vajra posture with one leg resting upon the other and is revered as a principal Buddha within Vajrayana Buddhism.

This six-arm depiction here, is the embodiment of the six Perfections that are the practice of a Bodhisattva. According to sutra, after fulfilling his bodhisattva vows and practices, Vairochana Buddha is said to live in a Pureland described as a world that exists in a huge lotus flower growing in a sea of perfume that is supported by many layers of windy circles.

Cast with care in the Inner Mongolian tradition, the face (characteristic of Zanabazar’s work), head and body are finely crafted, where as the hands and implements are a bit rough. This is likely due to its display, which would have a silk shroud draped over his shoulders leaving the trunk exposed, yet covering the arms.

Primary Iconography: Vairochana
Tibetan: nang par nang dze, sang gye
Dimensions: 9 X 7 in. — 23 X 18 cm
Collection: TMS
Photo: Art Rampage Studio

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