Jeweled plaque

DATE:
18th–19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Copper, gold, silver, bronze, ivory, turquoise, coral, mother of pearl, garnet, and various jewels
CLASSIFICATION:
Coins, Medallions and Plaques
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 20 x 16 x 1 1/2 in. (50.8 x 40.64 x 3.81 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of Asia
LOCATION:
304 SNAIL GALLERY
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
2017.35.1

General Description

Plaques like this one form architectural decorations in Buddhist temples or are used in domestic shrines. They are created by Newari craftspeople, who are especially skilled metalworkers. In the center of the bejeweled plaque is Manjushri, the Buddhist god of wisdom, who wields the sword of enlightenment against ignorance. His wise is face delicately carved from red coral; he stands on a lotus throne. To his right, carved in ivory is the elephant-headed Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, who was adopted from Hinduism into Himalayan Buddhism. To his left is Mahakala, a wrathful deity whose name means "The Great Black One," a being who defends the Buddhist dharma and drives away evil. Over the triad of deities are vidyadharas, heavenly flying bearers of knowledge. The rich creation of the ritual scene by the subtle use of inlaid stones is a good example of Newari art.

Adapted from

  • Anne Bromberg, Label text.

  • Anne Bromberg, "Jeweled plaque" in The Arts of India, South East Asia, and the Himalayas, Anne R. Bromberg (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 200.