Panel from a Buddhist Ritual Crown Depicting Vairochana

Date: late 13th–early 14th century

Culture: Tibet

Medium: Distemper on wood

Dimensions: H. 11 3/4 in (29.8 cm); W. 5 1/8 in (13 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, The Vincent Astor Foundation Gift, 1997

Accession Number: 1997.152


Vairochana presides over the five Tathagatas (Transcendent Buddhas), an important group of deities of Vajrayana Buddhism. Guarding the base of Vairochana’s crown are lions that also serve as his vehicle. Vairochana makes the esoteric gesture bodhyagri, while holding a vajra (thunderbolt scepter) in his right hand.