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Carlos Cruañas

AMITÂBHA IN SUKHÂVATÎ
with eight great Bodhisattvas

Central Tibet
Late 18th century
Pigments and gold on cloth, mounted with imported chinese brocade
Painting: 45 X 66 cm. Total: 77 X 137 cm.

This fine thangka depicts the Buddha of infinite light Amitâbha in the palace of his pure land of Sukhâvatî, the paradise of the west. Dressed in his monk robes, seated in meditation on a lotus throne and holding an alms bowl filled with leaves and three fruits, simbolizing the three jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. This possibly shows the Buddha’s aspect of infinite life known as Amitayus. From the back of hid body three halos of golden rays show his luminous nature. Underneath the lotus are two peacocks, flanking the golden eight spoked wheel, dharmachakra, that emerges from an open pink lotus.

Gathered below the Buddha, and supported by a five colour rainbow, the eight great bodhisattvas gracely seated in lotuses dressed lavishly in their princely garments. In slightly larger size and surronded by clouds seated next to the Buddha, on his right Avalokiteshvara and on his left Vajrasattva. Below Mañjusrî and Kshitigarbha on the right, and Samantabhadra and Maitreya on the Left. Bellow Âkâsagarbha and Sarva-nîrvarana-vishcambhin.

Standing on a lotus at the entrance to paradise a small figure of Amitâbha greeting the devotees who await their turn to be reborn in the pureland. To his left emerging from behind there is a celestial beauty or Apsarâs. Directly above the Buddha two red lotuses, above there is an open pink lotus from wich emerges the flaming seven jewels. Amitâbha is the Lord of the Padma or Lotus Family. His red color is indicative of the redness of the fire, vital fluids, evening twilight, the summer season and the transmutation of passion into discriminating wisdom.

From the backdrop behind the golden pagodas appears a bejeweled garden enhancing the splendour of his paradise. Below the rainbow lies the phenomenal world. On the left side there is the moon over a rocky landscape with three small figures; on the right the sun, beneath it the mountains covered by flames consuming two skeletons. Both scenes are conected to the Buddha by golden threads. On the bottom we could see a mirror, a conch, a pair of cimbals and a bowl of fruits: the four offerings.

The painting is mounted in a chinese brocade with flying bats.

all text, images Carlos Cruañas

 

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