string(23) "edanmdm:fsg_S1995.91a-b" Pair of Manuscript Covers - National Museum of Asian Art

Pair of Manuscript Covers

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    17th century
  • Geography

  • Material

    Opaque watercolor, gold, wood
  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 12.6 x 25.5 x 1.1 cm (4 15/16 x 10 1/16 x 7/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Patron

    Srinivasa Malla (r. 1661-1684)
  • Description

    Pair of painted wooden manuscript covers. The exterior of one cover bears the image of Ganesa as the central figure; with one foot on his vehicle, the rat, Ganesa dances to the drumming of his father, Siva, supported by the emblematic bull, and Bhairva, supported on a cadaver. His mother, Parvati, standing on her lion vehicle, appears to be offering something to the dancer. The interior of this cover shows a king of Patan seated on a throne supported by lions and what seems to be a tiny Garuda, reference to Nepalese royalty as Vishnu incarnate. Opposite the king a brahman priest appears to be expounding from a manuscript, such as these covers would have protected. Between them is Rato Macchendranath (Matsyendranatha), a syncretic diety known to Buddhist Newars as Bunga-dyah and considered to be a particular manifestation of Avolokitesvara. The god is depicted standing on a bull, goose/swan, and sunbird, vehicles of three paramount Hindu gods, Siva, Brahma, and Vishnu.
    The obverse of the bottom cover depicts the goddess Sarasvati supported by two vehicles, a goose and makara; she is flanked by lotus-borne goddesses. The reverse of this cover depicts a brahman priest holding a manuscript in one hand and making offerings to a pair of royally decorated elephants, mother and baby.
  • Provenance

    From 1967 to 1995
    Private collector, purchased in Patan, Nepal, in 1967 [1]
    From 1995
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, given by a private collector in 1995
    [1] According to the donor, these covers were purchased on October 8, 1967 in Patan, former capital of the Patan Kingdom, Nepal, and once protected a now unidentifiable but surely brahmanical text.
    They entered the United States in early 1970 (according to Provenance Remark 1, Vidya Dehejia, March 16, 1995, in the object record).
  • Collection

    National Museum of Asian Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Facing East: Portraits from Asia (July 1 to September 4, 2006)
  • Previous custodian or owner

  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Anonymous gift
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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