Gilt bronze mandala


British Museum

British Museum

This exquisite bronze mandala is an example of the Sino-Tibetan style. It was made in China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), but represents elements of Tibetan Lamaist Buddhism. It is cast as a pomegranate, somewhat similar to Indian examples, which were cast as lotuses. The iconography and decoration are complex. At the centre of the mandala is a deity, Yi-dam, of Buddha rank. He is locked in embrace with his prajna, or wisdom partner. Twenty lesser deities surround them, two or three on each petal, before circular drums or altars. The petals are incised with deities and a variety of emblems, including a horse, elephant, wheel, censer, ewer, staff, parasols, ribbon, canopies and jewels.

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  • Title: Gilt bronze mandala
  • Date Created: 1600/1799
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 25.60cm (Open); Diameter: 22.00cm (Open); Height: 24.50cm (Closed); Diameter: 13.00cm (Closed); Weight: 1.90kg
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: gilded; cast
  • Subject: deity; symbol; yi-dam
  • Registration number: 1939,0118.1
  • Production place: Made in China
  • Period/culture: Qing dynasty
  • Material: bronze; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Humphreys. In Memory of Humphreys, Edward


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