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Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Nepal
Sculpture from Kashmir
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Tibet
Four Leaves from a Gandavyuha Manuscript
Nepal; Transitional period (880-1200), late 11th - early 12th century
Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf
Each, H. 2 in. (5.1 cm); W. 21 1/2 in. (54.6 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The Gandavyuha, part of an influential Buddhist text known as the Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower-Ornament Sutra), narrates the pilgrimage of a young man named Sudhana as he travels from teacher to teacher in search of enlightenment. Sudhana's journey illustrates the importance of gaining wisdom and compassion before one is able to reach enlightenment. These unpaginated leaves from an early Nepalese manuscript depict Sudhana either walking or receiving instruction from the various teachers he visits. On leaf B, Sudhana's halo, which does not appear in the other scenes, may suggest that this scene depicts Sudhana's culminating visit to the Bodhisattva Maitreya, who presents the young pilgrim with a vision of Vairochana's Tower, a jeweled tower wherein each jewel contains another jeweled tower ad infinitum. The small red tower (stupa) located between Sudhana and his teacher may represent this jeweled tower. The holes in this manuscript were for the string that held the leaves together like a binding. Because these holes are not very worn, it is likely that this high quality manuscript was worshipped rather than used in daily rituals.
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