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Star Mandala

Artist/maker unknown, Japanese

Made in Japan, Asia

Edo Period (1615-1868)

Late 17th century

Gold and colors on wood

21 1/2 inches (54.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1978

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The Star Mandala is one of the variant formats of mandala used in Esoteric Buddhism, especially in rituals performed to prevent natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods. At the center of the field is Amida Buddha, seated on a lotus throne and holding a lotus with flaming jewels. The disc encompassing the Buddha is wreathed in clouds against the night sky. Two groups of deities appear around the circumference of the star mandala. The outer group of thirty-six stellar gods are guardians, all in military garb. The inner circle depicts twenty-eight deities, who are each identified with a specific constellation based on Chinese astronomy and known as the Twenty-Eight Mansions (xiu).