Pair of Manuscript Covers with Buddhist Deities

Date: late 11th century

Culture: Nepal (Kathmandu Valley)

Medium: Distemper on wood

Dimensions: Each: 2 1/8 x 22 1/8 in. (5.4 x 56.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Fletcher and Rogers Funds, 1976

Accession Number: 1976.192.1, .2


This pair of wooden covers protected the palm-leaf folios of a Buddhist sacred text. One cover has the nine Buddhist goddesses, each holding a staff surmounted by the wish-fulfilling jewel (cintamani), while the other cover has the five transcendental Buddhas flanked by four bodhisattvas. Painted on the interior, the iconography offers a protective field to the holy text within, in this case likely the Perfection of Wisdom text, the Ashtasathasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra.