May 7, 2014

Nagarjuna (c. AD 150–250) with a Buddhist Master

Nagarjuna (c. AD 150–250) with a Buddhist Master

c. 1300s

Gum tempera on sized cotton

Overall: 57.8 x 45.1 cm (22 3/4 x 17 3/4 in.)

Gift of George P. Bickford 1985.186


Did you know?

The Bodhisattva of Wisdom, who was Nagarjuna's teacher, is in the central 8-armed figure in the bottom row.


Nagarjuna, the Buddhist philosopher from southern India, sits on his eponymous red and black serpents, or naga. His interlocutor may be his disciple Aryadeva. A volume of the Perfection of Wisdom, honored with flowers, is on a golden bookstand between their heads. The figures sit beneath flowering and fruiting trees with peacocks and parrots, evoking the landscape of India. Lineage masters of the Sakya order of Buddhism are aligned in the top row, beginning with Virupa at the upper right. The monk who was the donor of this painting is in the lower left corner.

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