The Journey

Four Leaves from a Gandavyuha Manuscript

  • 23
  • Nepal
  • Thakuri period, late 11th–early 12th century
  • Ink and opaque watercolor on palm leaf
  • Each leaf, H. 2 x W. 21 1/2 in. (5.1 x 54.6 cm)
  • Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.54a–d

These manuscript leaves are from the Gandavyuha Sutra, the last chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Garland Sutra). Sudhana is the protagonist of this influential Buddhist text. The story explains that the bodhisattva Manjushri advises Sudhana to undertake a pilgrimage to aid his pursuit of enlightenment. The second leaf from the top here depicts Sudhana's culminating visit to the bodhisattva Maitreya, who presents the young pilgrim with a vision of the Buddha Vairochana's stupa, probably represented by the small red stupa between Sudhana and Maitreya. The other three images depict Sudhana walking and being instructed by the bodhisattva Avalokisteshvara.

PHOTO CREDIT: Asia Society, New York

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