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Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal

Vajracarya Priest's Crown
Nepal, ca. 13th century
Copper, gold, crystal, turquoise
H. 14 in. (35.6 cm); W. 8 1/2 in. (21.6 cm); D. 9 in. (22.9 cm); Wt. 4 lb. 0.4 oz. (1825.7 g)

Gift of Bashford Dean, 1906
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 06.191

This handsome crown features a pronounced towering summit, which echoes one seen in the Ajanta mural painting (a reproduction of which is also displayed in Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal). The openwork medallions are particularly refined and display the skill of Newar artists in working sheet copper. The lotus bloom and stem openwork panels are also exceptional for their quality of execution and point to an early date in the chronology of these crown types. They can be understood as directly descending stylistically from the earliest known example, dated by inscription to 1145.

Bashford Dean, New York (said to have been acquired in northern India; 1905-06; his gift to MMA).

Exhibition History
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Crowns of the Vajra Masters: Ritual Art of Nepal," December 16, 2017-December 16, 2018.

Dean, Bashford. "Casques of Tibetan High Priests." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1, no. 7 (June 1906). pp. 97-98, fig. 2.

Dean, Bashford. Notes on Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916. pp. 3, 5, fig. 3.