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11. Petal of lotus mandala with Vajrapani
Northeastern India
12th-13th century
Bronze, silver
Object 477, (gallery E, case 4, E-14)

Vajrapani Some Ancient Images This is one of a group of objects representing some of the finest and earliest bronze sculptures in the Patan Museum. All depict bodhisattvas, enlightened beings. They were made during the Pala period (11th or 12th century) in regions on the periphery of Nepal. All the images in this case were probably brought into Nepal by Buddhist pilgrims. Such images from the Pala domain, which was ruled by fervent supporters of Buddhism, were very influential in shaping the Nepalese artists' vision of divine imagery. The petal shown here comes from a lotus mandala. It bears the image of Vajrapani as a fierce guardian protector of the central deity, the Sovereign of the Mandala, which like the rest of the mandala is now dispersed.

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text © Mary Slusser and images © Patan Museum
photo by Rupert Steiner