Ratnasambhava
Tibet
14th–15th century
Distemper on cloth
64.3 x 44.5 cm (25 ¼ x 17 ½ in)
Provenanace
Exhibited
Publications

J. Watt, Himalayan Art Resources (himalayanart.org), no. 77113

This painting originates from a set of five depicting the Five Wisdom Buddhas of Vajrayana Buddhism: Vairochana, Akshobhya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, and Amoghasiddhi. Each embodies Shakyamuni’s purification of one of the five poisons, being Ignorance, Envy, Pride, Desire, and Greed, respectively. Occupying a central role in Vajrayana Buddhism, Ratnasambhava is found throughout Tantric Buddhism, most notably in Vajrayana in the Anuttarayoga (Wisdom) tantra.

The treatment of the central figure is exquisite, with confident and fluid lines, such as those marking the  strands of hair across his forehead. He has a slender torso following the tradition of Pala-style manuscripts brought to Tibet by pilgrims and refugees in the 12th and 13th centuries. His right hand extends across the knee with the palm facing outward in varada mudra, the gesture of supreme generosity - Ratnasambhava’s designated mudra.

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