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Sutra cover with five seated deities
Place of Origin: Tibet
Date: 1800-1900
Object Name: Sutra cover
Materials: Colors on paper and Inlaid wood
Dimensions: H. 6 1/2 in x L. 20 3/4 in, H. 16.5 cm x L. 52.8 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Katherine Ball
Department: Himalayan Art
Collection: Books And Manuscripts
Object Number: B72D61
On Display: No

Description

Label:

In Himalayan cultures, Buddhist texts are written on long horizontal leaves, front  and back, so as to facilitate the turning of the text from leaf to leaf during  recitation. This type of sutra cover would have enclosed about three and a half inches of text within. Some of the finest sutra covers, such as this one, bear paintings that are mounted with brocade,as in a thangka  painting;this is a rare example because of its intricate  wood inlay. Five bodhisattvas-beings destined by vow to reach enlightenment-are shown seated on lotus thrones rising from waves strewn with precious offerings. A veritable pantheon of Himalayan bodhisattva-type deities, they are, from  left to right:

• the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha  holding his alarm staff with its jangly, loose rings;
• Manjushri,bodhisattva of wisdom (prajna) with his sword;
• Prajnaparamita, personification of Perfection of
Wisdom as a bodhisattva;
• Avalokiteshvara,bodhisattva of compassion (karuna);
• Maitreya,the Buddha of the Future.


Label:

In Himalayan cultures, Buddhist texts are written on long horizontal leaves, front  and back, so as to facilitate the turning of the text from leaf to leaf during  recitation. This type of sutra cover would have enclosed about three and a half inches of text within. Some of the finest sutra covers, such as this one, bear paintings that are mounted with brocade,as in a thangka  painting;this is a rare example because of its intricate  wood inlay. Five bodhisattvas-beings destined by vow to reach enlightenment-are shown seated on lotus thrones rising from waves strewn with precious offerings. A veritable pantheon of Himalayan bodhisattva-type deities, they are, from  left to right:

• the bodhisattva Kshitigarbha  holding his alarm staff with its jangly, loose rings;
• Manjushri,bodhisattva of wisdom (prajna) with his sword;
• Prajnaparamita, personification of Perfection of
Wisdom as a bodhisattva;
• Avalokiteshvara,bodhisattva of compassion (karuna);
• Maitreya,the Buddha of the Future.