Later, when Manjushri emerged as one of the main Tantrika deities, particularly in Tibetan Buddhism widely pursued in the northern regions of Himalayan hills, the anatomical and iconographic perception of the image underwent a radical change. Now the image was multi-armed, the number of arms varying from four to eighteen. 'Khadaga' and the book were still the essentials of Manjushri iconography, but now it also carried many other attributes 'Ratna-mani', 'abhaya', 'varada', 'vajra', 'danda', mace, battle-axe, pot, rosary, noose, flames of fire, and many others. They symbolised his multifarious role, which as the Tantrika deity Manjushri was invoked to accomplish.
This exquisitely executed and exceptionally bejewelled image has been rendered with a broad forehead, as broad face but narrowing down to chin with an angular thrust, and wide open vigilant eyes. The iconography, adornment and costume are characteristically Tibetan.
The deity is seated on a lotus 'pitha'. He is in padmasana. The image is carrying in his right hand the 'khadaga'. Its handle consists of 'vajra', and the point of the blade, of the flames of fire, obviously because fire and 'vajra' are other usual elements of Manjushri iconography. From under the other hand, there rises a lotus stalk with a lotus on its apex. The lotus carries on it the book.
This sculpture was created in city of Patan (Kathmandu, Nepal).
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.
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