Description This Buddhist deity holds a bell, symbolic of wisdom, and a flaming wheel, symbolic of the Buddhist teachings. His crown, which terminates in a "vajra"—the multipronged ritual scepter of the tantric Buddhist traditions—resembles the type of headdress worn by Nepali images of the deity Vajrasattva. Identified as both a primordial Buddha and a bodhisattva, Vajrasattva often plays a role in purification rituals. However, since Vajrasattva holds a vajra and bell, the identity of this wheel-bearing deity remains uncertain. The seated deity is cast from almost pure copper, visible in areas where the thick gilding has worn away. The hollow figure is sealed with a small, rectangluar copper panel incised with the protective "vajra," or thunderbolt symbol, on its underside, and x-radiography reveals a hollow compartment that may hold sacred scrolls within.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
Provenance William H. Wolf, New York [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, 1972.
Credit Promised gift of John and Berthe Ford
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