Chinese / Mandala / Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), ca. 1330-32Chinese
Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), ca. 1330-32

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Mandala
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1279
Creation End Date: 1368
Creation Date: Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), ca. 1330-32
Object Type: Textiles
Classification Term: Textiles-Tapestries
Materials and Techniques: silk, metallic thread
Dimensions: 96 5/8 x 82 1/4 in. (245.4 x 208.9 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1992.54
Credit Line: Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1992

This mandala, in Sakya-pa style (originating from the Sakya monastery in Tibet), shows Vajrabhairava, the wrathful manifestation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri, as the central deity. Although the basic scheme is conventional, the decoration is rich and complex. The design is made by color change and slits in the weave, and the use of gilded paper in such areas as crowns and jewelry gives a three-dimensional effect. Shading is achieved by the interpenetration of the wefts of two different colors or two shades of the same color. Portraits of the donors in the lower corners are identified by Tibetan inscriptions in cartouches (from left): Tugh Temur, great-grandson of Khubilai Khan, who reigned as Emperor Wenzong of the Yuan dynasty in China from 1328 to 1332; Qoshila (see detail), elder brother of Tugh Temur, who reigned briefly in 1328 as Emperor Mingzong; and Bhudhashri and Bhabucha, their respective spouses. It is possible that this tapestry was based on a painted mandala used in a Buddhist initiation ceremony for the Mongol emperors and empresses that was conducted by a Tibetan monk appointed emperor's preceptor. According to historical records, Mongol emperors in China often commissioned tapestry portraits based on painted ones. This mandala provides the only known surviving complete example of imperial Mongol portraits in this technique.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1992.54
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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