Manuscript cover
13th-14th century
Carved, painted and gilded wood
25 x 73 x 3 cm (10 x 28 ¾ x 1 ¼ in)1401.Manuscript cover.jpg

Deborah Ashencaen, Light of Compassion: Buddhist Art from Nepal and Tibet, London: Spink & Son, 1997, cat 35

J. Watt, Himalayan Art Resources (, set 4345

J. Watt, Himalayan Art Resources (, no. 24121


At the centre of this manuscript cover is a gilded and incised image of Sarasvati playing a vina. On either side of the goddess of music and eloquence are four gold medallions surrounded by scrolling foliage. Each medallion contains a Buddhist symbol: an eternal knot, two fish, triratna and offerings in a bowl. The central field of the book is surrounded by borders of multicoloured and gilded stripes and by interchanging red and green stylised petals. These are followed by a wide border of red lotuses, painted on a blue background, and overlaid with small gilded medallions incised with various Buddhist symbols.