This forty-inch high and twenty-six-inch wide brass image represents one of the early forms of Manjushri, the Buddhist god who stands for wisdom and knowledge, more particularly the knowledge of linguistics and grammar. The image of the deity, with its two arms and the book Prajnaparamita, carried over a lotus, pursues the initial idiom of Manjushri imagery.
One of the would-be Buddhas, Manjushri also symbolised, like other Boddhisattvas Avalokiteshvara, Metreya, Padmapani, etc., different stages of the soul's attainment of Buddhattva. In early innovations, Manjushri images had normal two arms, and only rarely four, carrying in one of them a 'khadaga', sword, and in the other the bookPrajnaparamita. Sometimes the book was carried over a lotus, and the arm other than the one, which carried 'khadaga', had a diamond Ratna-mani or Chintamani, which symbolised truth, as like truth, it neither rusted nor defaced or eroded.
With the sword, Manjushri is conceived as eliminating darkness, and with the book, as spreading true knowledge.
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 the Tantrika deity Manjushri was invoked to accomplish.
This exquisitely executed and exceptionally bejewelled image has been rendered with a broad forehead, a broad face but narrowing down to a chin with an angular thrust, and half-closed eyes, as in meditation. The iconography, adornment and costume are characteristically Tibetan. Normally, Boddhisattva images, including Manjushri, carry in their coiffeur effigies of Dhyani, or meditating, Buddha, but in this image, the effigy has been substituted with a crest of diamonds rising flower-like from a three-leaf base. Three leaves of the base and five petals of the crest make eight; three symbolising, perhaps, three basic rules of Buddhism, and eight, the eight-fold path of the Dhamma.
The deity is seated on a high and beautifully designed lotus 'pitha'. He is in Padmasana. The auspicious marks of the lotus, carved on upward raised feet, as well as on palms, further enhance the auspice that a lotus creates. 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. On the other hand, he is carrying a small object, which may be a 'Ratna-mani'. From under this arm, there rises a lotus stalk with a lotus on its apex. The lotus carries on in the book. The large circular 'kundalas', ear-ornaments, correspond to 'Dharma-chakra', often comprising part of 'Prabha', not included here. A lavish and richly bejewelled crown with seven leaves adorns the deity head, and an rich 'khata', the sacred scarf, wraps his shoulders. A mild 'trivali', a three-fold form, defines the neck. 'Dhoti', sash, girdle on the waist, necklaces and other ornaments are richly designed.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes
in 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
How to keep a Brass statue well-maintained?
Brass statues are known and appreciated for their exquisite beauty and luster. The brilliant bright gold appearance of Brass makes it appropriate for casting aesthetic statues and sculptures. Brass is a metal alloy composed mainly of copper and zinc. This chemical composition makes brass a highly durable and corrosion-resistant material. Due to these properties, Brass statues and sculptures can be kept both indoors as well as outdoors. They also last for many decades without losing all their natural shine.
Brass statues can withstand even harsh weather conditions very well due to their corrosion-resistance properties. However, maintaining the luster and natural beauty of brass statues is essential if you want to prolong their life and appearance.
In case you have a colored brass statue, you may apply mustard oil using a soft brush or clean cloth on the brass portion while for the colored portion of the statue, you may use coconut oil with a cotton cloth.
Brass idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are especially known for their intricate and detailed work of art. Nepalese sculptures are famous for small brass idols portraying Buddhist deities. These sculptures are beautified with gold gilding and inlay of precious or semi-precious stones. Religious brass statues can be kept at home altars. You can keep a decorative brass statue in your garden or roof to embellish the area and fill it with divinity.
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