Bodhisattva Vajrasattva

13th century

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art

At first glance this sculpture appears to represent the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who has a lotus as his symbol. However, closer inspection reveals that the figure once held a vajra upright between two fingers of his right hand, which also explains this hand’s unusual position. A break on the lotus further indicates that there was once a bell attached to it. These subtle details reveal that this is in fact Vajrasattva, who can be understood as a primordial buddha, an aspiration deity, or the primary bodhisattva of the vajra family.

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  • Title: Bodhisattva Vajrasattva
  • Date Created: 13th century
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2009.13
  • Medium: Copper alloy with cold gold pigments
  • Place of Creation: Tibet
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (03/11/11 - 1/9/12), Rubin Museum of Art, "A Collector's Passion: South Asian Selections from the Nalin Collection" (06/12/09 - 11/09/09)


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