One of a pair of manuscript covers for a copy of a Dharani Samgraha

Historical period(s)
Opaque watercolors on wood
H x W x D: 11.5 x 50.9 x 1.3 cm (4 1/2 x 20 1/16 x 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Joyce and Kenneth Robbins
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Book covers

Amitabha Buddha, boar, bow, Buddhism, Nepal, Prajnaparamita, Tara, tortoise, Ushnishavijaya, vajra, worship, WWII-era provenance

From between the 1940s and the 1960s
George P. Bickford, acquired on the Indian subcontinent between the 1940s and the 1960s [1]

To 2000
Joyce and Kenneth X. Robbins, Potomac, MD, to 2000

From 2000
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, given by Joyce and Kenneth X. Robbins in 2000


[1] According to Provenance Remark 1 in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dr. Kenneth X. Robbins
George P. Bickford


Traditionally, in much of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas, sacred works were written by hand on long, narrow palm leaves, stacked and secured by a bottom and top cover, usually of wood and often carved or painted inside and out. This format endured long after paper began to be used, as in these narrow covers which protected the pages of a seventeenth-century Nepalese manuscript. Although only the covers have survived, the paintings on them suggest that the manuscript was a collection of mystic charms (dharani). The interior of what was probably the top cover bears a row of seven female bodhisattvas flanked by two fierce protectors. The central image is Prajnaparamita, the Perfection of Wisdom. She personifies an important Buddhist scripture by that name, a manuscript of which she displays in her upper left hand.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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