Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, and Vajrapani – "Protectors of the Three Spiritual Families"
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Orientation 4
Display 7

ABS 112

 Code: ABS 112

  Country: China

  Style: Qing Dynasty

  Date: 1700 - 1800

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 13.9 x 27.5 x 7

  Materials: Brass; images are gilt, pedestal left ungilt

Solid cast in two or more parts.
The three images are fire gilt whereas the stand is left ungilt.
The bottom of the pedestal is not sealed.
This group represents a trinity of popular male Mahayana deities composed from left to right of Manjusri (Tib. ’Jam dpal dbyangs), Padmapani (Tib. Phyag na padmo), and Vajrasattva (Tib. rDo rje sems dpa’). The deities are standing in a slightly bent attitude (abhanga) on lotus flowers carried by three stems growing out of the semi circular stand below. Padmapani, a popular form of Avalokitesvara, occupying the centre position and being of larger size, extends the right hand in the gesture of charity (varada mudra) and holds in the left hand the stalk of a lotus flower (padma) blossoming above the left shoulder. Manjusri, to his proper right, holds the right hand, turned inwards, in front of the chest, while the left hand holds the stalk of a blue lily (nilotpala) surmounted by the manuscript (pustaka) of the Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra which is together with the sword one of the principal attributes of Manjusri. Vajrasattva, to the proper left of Padmapani, who is shown here as Bodhisattva, holds in the right hand a diamond sceptre (vajra) while the left hand holds the stalk of a lily (utpala) supporting a prayer-bell (ghanta). The centre image is encircled by an aureole surmounted by a Stupa. The heads of the two side figures are set off against a pointed nimbus. Note the small effigy of Amitabha on the head of Padmapani.
During the Qing dynasty, the Imperial workshops produced many copies of Tibetan, Nepalese, and Indian statues such as this Chinese Påla replica. In the collections of the the Forbidden City (Zijin Cheng) in Beijing are a number of replicas of which the original Tibetan, Nepalese, and Indian statues have also survived.
Manjusri: alternate name: Vajrananga Manjughosa
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Manjushree, also written Manjushri, is the bodhisattva of keen awareness in Buddhism. A disciple of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, he represents wisdom, intelligence and realisation, and is one of the most popular Bodhisattvas following Avalokitesvara (Ch: Guan Yin).
Together with Shakyamuni and fellow disciple Samantabhadra he forms the Shakyamuni trinity (Jp: Sanzon Shaka). Manjusri is one of the Eight Wisdom Bodhisattvas and one of the Japanese Thirteen Buddhas. In Tibetan Buddhism he sometimes is depicted in a trinity with Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani.
Manjusri is mentioned in many Mahayana sutras, particularly the Prajnaparamita Sutras. The Lotus Sutra assigns him a paradise called Vimala, which according to the Avatamsaka Sutra is located in the east. His consort in some traditions is Saraswati. He is also sometimes called Manjughosha.
Within Tibetan Buddhism, Manjushri is a tantric meditational deity or Yidam, and considered a fully enlightened Buddha.
Manjusri Mantra
Chanting the Manjusri Mantra "Om Ah Ra Pa Tsa Na Dhih" is believed to enhance wisdom and improve one's skills in debating, memory, writing, explaining etc. "Dhih" is the seed syllable of the mantra and is chanted with greater emphasis.
A male Bodhisattva, he is depicted wielding a flaming sword in his right hand, representing his realisation of wisdom which cuts through ignorance and wrong views. The scripture supported by the flower held in his left hand is the Prajnaparamita, representing his attainment of ultimate realisation and Enlightenment. Variations upon his traditional form as Manjusri include Guhya-Manjusri, Guhya-Manjuvajra, and Manjuswari, most of which are Tantric forms associated with Tibetan Buddhism. The two former appearances are generally accompanied by a shakti deity embracing the main figure, symbolising union of form and spirit, matter and energy.
According to legend Nurhaci, a military leader of the Jurchen tribes and founder of what became the Chinese imperial Qing Dynasty, believed himself to be a reincarnation of Manjusri. He therefore is said to have renamed his tribe the Manchu.
Yamantaka (meaning “terminator of Yama i.e. Death”) is seen as a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom. Yamāntaka (Tibetan: Shinjeshe Wylie: Gshin-rje-gshed) is a Mahayana Buddhist yidam or iṣṭadevata of the Highest Yoga Tantra class in Vajrayana, popular within the Geluk school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Role in Nepalese Mythology
According to Swayambhu Purana, the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake. It is believed that Manjushri saw a lotus flower in the center of the lake and cut a gorge at Chovar to allow the lake to drain. The place where the lotus flower settled became Swayambhunath Stupa and the valley thus became habitable.
The Newars of the Kathmandu Valley, who adhere to both Buddhism and Hinduism, revere him as the Bodhisattva of Wisdom.

Bhattacharyya, Benoytosh , 1958. Indian Buddhist Iconography. Calcutta: K. L. Mukhopadhyay. Pp. 88–89, 124–44, 394–431 - References to the iconography of Avalokitesvara

Cornu, Philippe , 2001. Dictionnaire Encyclopédique du Bouddhisme. Seuil.

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1975. Introduction à l'iconographie du tântrisme bouddhique. Paris: Adrien Mainsonneuve (Jean Maisonneuve successeur (1970). Pp. 419–21: Vajrasattva as Buddha; pp. 396, 406: Vajrasattva as Bodhisattva - References to the iconography of Vajrasattva

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1964. Étude iconographique sur Manjusri. Paris: École Française d’Extrème-Orient. References to the iconography of Manjusri

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1975. Introduction à l'iconographie du tântrisme bouddhique. Paris: Adrien Mainsonneuve (Jean Maisonneuve successeur (1970). Pp. 250–257 - References to the iconography of Manjusri

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1948. Introduction à l’étude d’Avalokitesvara. Annales du Musée Guimet; bibliotheque d’études. Tome 57. Paris: Civilisation du Sud. References to the iconography of Avalokitesvara

de Mallmann, Marie-Thérèse, 1975. Introduction à l'iconographie du tântrisme bouddhique. Paris: Adrien Mainsonneuve (Jean Maisonneuve successeur (1970). Pp. 105–114 - References to the iconography of Avalokitesvara

Neven, Armand, 1978. Sculpture des Indes. Bruxelles : Société générale de banque. P. 233, no. 179: Padmapani Avalokitesvar, Manjugosh, Vajrapani / Vajrasattva; Pal, Bihar (Kurkihar ?), 11e s

von Schroeder, Ulrich, 2010. Buddhist Sculptures of the Alain Bordier Foundation. Hong Kong: Visual Dharma Publications, Ltd.. Pp. 52-53; pl. 23B