This is a non-iconic form of Manjushri composed by the innovative scholar-painter Situ Panchen (1700–1774) as part of his “Eight Great Bodhisattva” set. One of Situ Panchen’s greatest artistic legacies was his role in designing simple open painting compositions such as this one. Normally with an orange color one would expect Manjushri to be energetically wielding his sword, as in the statue nearby. Instead, Situ chose the simple grace of a relaxed pose over the rippling water of a lotus pond, which imbues this image with a quiet contemplative feeling.
all text & images © Rubin Museum of Art