- Place of origin:
circa 1112 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
Palm leaf, painted
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Recto: Text commencing: (Ch XII, 255) buddhanam sarvajnata - until - atha khalv ayusman Su-(bhutir)
Left: The Bodhisattva Vajrapani identified by his blue colour. He sits in maharajalilasana on a pink lotus seat with his right hand apprently in karana mudra and the left holding the stem of a lotus which supports an unidentified object - almost certainly not his symbol, the vajra. He is attended by a white Dharmapala, either Sitabrahma, Mahakala or Yama, who wears a tiger skin and squats on a red lotus.
Centre: A female divinity with Bodhisattva ornaments. She is yellow and stands beneath an arch. She has three heads and six arms. The centre head is yellow, that on the left a green boar's snout and on the right a horrific white face. The upper left hand holds a cloth or text, the centre left has a bow; and the lower left is unidentified. The upper right hand holds a vajra, the centre left has an arrow, and the lower left has a noose. Her colour and the three heads with boar's head to left confirm that she is Marici, although it is unusual except in Japan for her to have six arms. The attributes approximate to those she normally carries. she usually holds the Asoka branch, which appears here by her left shoulder.
Right: The Bodhisattva Maitreya seated in maharajalilasana on a white lotus seat. He is expounding the doctrine with both hands in vitarka muda. The lotus by his left side supports what may be a stupa. Seated to his left on a red lotus is Acharya Vajrapani who is blue and wears a tiger skin.
Verso: Text commencing (Ch XII, 255): (Su) bhutir Bhagavantam etad avocat: yad Bhagavan evam aha - until (Ch.XII, 257) evam hi Subhute prajnaparamita tathagatanam arhatam samyaksabuggdhanam asya lokasya (samdarsayitri).
Place of Origin
circa 1112 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Palm leaf, painted
Length: 54 cm, Width: 6.3 cm
Object history note
Acquired from Mr T Harris, 39 Westmark Point, Roehampton, London SW15, England
Historical context note
From the E Vredenburg collection
Manuscript, palm leaf, painted, Bengal, c1112
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
E Vredenburg: 'The Continuity of Pictorial Tradition in the Art of India', Rupam No 1, Calcutta, 1920, figure 6 Losty, J P: 'The Art of the Book in India', p32 Losty, J P in Bautze-Picron, C (ed): 'Essays in Honour of James C Harle', New Delhi, 1990, pp 189-200 Bussagli, Mario: 'La Miniatura Indiana', Milan, 1966, plates 1 & 2
"Seven leaves from a manuscript of the Buddhist text, the 'Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita' ('The Transcendental Wisdom of the Further Shore in 8000 verses') in Sanskrit on palm leaf. The 18 pictures are of Buddhist divinities and form three groups of six, one at the beginning of the manuscript, another in the exact centre, a third at the end.
The paintings are not intended to illustrate the text, but rather to preserve it from harm and attract celestial beings.
Written at the expense of Udaya Sinha, a house-holder, for the benefit of the souls of his parents in the 36th year of the reign of Ramapala (a member of the Pala dynasty of Bengal).”
For a similar manuscript dated in the 39th regnal year of Ramapala, see 'Oriental Art', Summer 1967 and Summer 1960.
Note: Ganguly, D C: 'The Struggle for Empire' in Majumdar, R C (ed): 'The History and Culture of the Indian People', Vol V, Bombay, 1957, p28. This places the accession of Ramapala in about the year 1077 AD.