Petals from Lotus mandala

These two are Lotus petals from, possibly two different, Lotus mandalas. As an example see the Vishnu Mandala in the Ashmolean Museum.

The Lotus Mandalas tend to be theme based and is normally based on a single idea or a deity. Here they depict Vishnu on his Vahana, Garuda and Mahalakshmi on her vahana, lion. Hence the suggestion they are from two Mandalas, despite strikingly similar styles and construction.

The Mandala leaf, one of our left, shows Vishnu seated on Garuda, his vahana.  Garuda, in avian form, spread out wings and  Vishnu is sitting in Padmasana on Garuda’s wings.  This form of Vishnu is often referred to as Garudasana.  This blogsite has another Garudasana, Lotus mandala leaf.

One of the unusual features of Mahalakshmi’s iconography from Nepal is her attributes of sword and shield. Something new for me.

As they came together and it is Vishnu and Mahalakshmi, I decided to keep them together.

The technical skills of the Newari craftsman are comparable to the best in the sub-continent. One of the distinguishing features of Chola bronzes is the depictions of expressions, especially on the face of the Vigrahas. Newari craftsman’s ability to deal with complex casting is worth noting. In this case, from whatever I can make out, each of the petals is single cast. Even otherwise the workmanship is exquisite.

This may date to the sixteenth century, if not earlier. The Mandala in Ashmolean is dated to the twelfth century. The bronze is about 7 cm in height.


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