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Gum tempera, paper, and colors on wood
Overall: 6.5 x 57 x 1.5 cm (2 9/16 x 22 7/16 x 9/16 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1938.301.190.a
The criss-cross pattern at the holes references the ribbons and cords that would have bound the book together.
The inner side of the top cover is fully painted with images of the Five Cosmic Buddhas of Esoteric Buddhism. Each one has a different color, meaningful hand gesture, and is associated with a spatial direction. In the center is the white Vairochana holding his hands in the enlightenment mudra. On either side of the binding holes are the other four Cosmic Buddhas Akshobyha (blue, earth-touching mudra, east) and Amitabha (red, meditation mudra, west), and on the ends are Ratnasambhava (gold, gift-giving mudra, south) and Amoghasiddhi (green, fear-not mudra, north). The top side is covered with ritual materials indicating that this book was once an object of worship.
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