four large characters on gold field at top; Buddha seated on throne with two attendants; pair of figures with elephant and lion below; bright colors

Buddhist trinity of Vairocana, Manjusri and Samantabhadra, late 16th-17th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
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This painting depicts Buddha Vairocana seated on a lotus-flower throne in heaven. Buddha Vairocana is an iconic figure in Mahayana, one of the major branches of Buddhism. He is seen as a universal Buddha and the matrix from which all phenomena emerge. On either side are Buddha Vairocana’s typical attendants, the bodhisattvas of wisdom and benevolence: Manjusri, on a lion, and Samantabhadra, on a six-tusked elephant. A bodhisattva is a being that is able to reach enlightenment but delays doing so to help those suffering on earth. In China, this group of three is known as the Three Saints of Huayan and is described in the influential Flower Garland sutra (scripture), so called because the Buddha’s enlightenment is like a floral crown, or garland. The inscription above the trinity reads: “The rain of flowers in the Buddha land.”

Details
Title
Buddhist trinity of Vairocana, Manjusri and Samantabhadra
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2003.199.1
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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four large characters on gold field at top; Buddha seated on throne with two attendants; pair of figures with elephant and lion below; bright colors