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西藏 十三世紀 大日如來唐卡
This early painting from the 13th century illustrates Vairocana, the cosmic or "Resplendent" buddha, presented here in sovereign majesty. Clad in royal regalia made of the finest of materials, jewels, and silks which fall along his body in ornamented patterns, his soft white skin and gentle expression omit him from any temporal reality. He holds his hand in the gesture of the highest enlightenment, bodhyagrimudra, which signifies his omniscient reign within the universe. The saturated palette highlighted with gold evokes richness, as the throne decorated with a rainbow aureole, recumbent lions, elephants, and vyalas alludes to a mythic realm. Four goddesses along the lotus base, ten bodhisattvas including Maitreya and Vajrapani, celestial protectors, and a host of buddhas, surround the Buddha as heavenly guests in this universal kingdom. As the ruler of the cosmos, this manifestation, known as the Vajradhatu Vairocana, corresponds to his sovereign appearance within a mandala of the Five Buddhas.
This thangka would have originally been part of a set of five, depicting Vairocana as the central image, within a mandala of the Five Buddhas. Iconography of the Vajradhatu Vairocana derives from the textual source, The Compendium of Principles whose related form most closely identifies with the Buddha as seen here – with a single head and holding the gesture of supreme enlightenment. While this depiction is more commonly portrayed in bronzes, as illustrated in an 11th-century Vairocana (see The All Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide, New York, 2013, Fig. 8), this iteration is rarely seen in paintings. Of a similar style and period is another depiction of a three-headed Vajradhatu Vairocana that was also once part of a set of five which, much like the following thangka, portrays the deity with the attributes of a king.
Jan Van Alphen (ed.), The All Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide, New York, 2013, p. 19, Fig. 6,
The All Knowing Buddha: A Secret Guide, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 14 October 2014 - 13 April 2015.