Item ID: 9993 Handscroll on paper, entitled on a new title-slip affixed to the outside, “Ryōkai mandara gahō hiden” 両界曼茶羅画法秘伝 [“Secrets of the Way of Drawing the Mandala of the Two Realms”]. DRAWING A. MANDALA.
Handscroll on paper, entitled on a new title-slip affixed to the outside, “Ryōkai mandara gahō hiden” 両界曼茶羅画法秘伝 [“Secrets of the Way of Drawing the Mandala of the Two Realms”].
Handscroll on paper, entitled on a new title-slip affixed to the outside, “Ryōkai mandara gahō hiden” 両界曼茶羅画法秘伝 [“Secrets of the Way of Drawing the Mandala of the Two Realms”].
Handscroll on paper, entitled on a new title-slip affixed to the outside, “Ryōkai mandara gahō hiden” 両界曼茶羅画法秘伝 [“Secrets of the Way of Drawing the Mandala of the Two Realms”].

How to Draw a Mandala

Handscroll on paper, entitled on a new title-slip affixed to the outside, “Ryōkai mandara gahō hiden” 両界曼茶羅画法秘伝 [“Secrets of the Way of Drawing the Mandala of the Two Realms”].

19 brush & black ink fine drawings. With text on inside & outside of scroll (some corrections using white paint & black ink). Annotations partially in red ink. Some Siddham characters. Scroll (295 x 6465 mm.), outside of scroll at beginning covered with floral silk brocade, wooden core roller. [Japan]: second colophon dated “early September 1779.”

A scroll with instructions for drawing the Mandala of the Two Realms, which is associated with the Shingon school of esoteric Buddhism. The complicated mandala contains numerous deities arranged around a core. These deities are depicted in turn in a set of 19 complex and vivid illustrations divided into 17 sections. The illustrations are finely drawn in black ink.

The scroll opens with the title “Master of the Three Realms” (sangaishu 三界主), which is followed by several illustrations. The first depicts the “King Polluted by Desire” 愛染王, or Rāgarāja, one of the wise kings (myōō 明王). He is followed by two images, containing several deities each, titled “East: Wheel of the True Dharma of the Court of the Lotus Division” and “West: Wheel of Precepts of the Vajra Group” (tentative translation). Legends accompany the components of the images, including some consisting of syllables written in the Indian Siddham script. The items depicted are named: “incense,” “bell,” etc.

Sixteen other sections follow, including those depicting “Mahāvairocana of the Center” (chūō dainichi), referring to the supreme Buddha in the esoteric Buddhist tradition; Akṣobhya Buddha of the East; Pure Land of Amitâbha in the West; Trailokya-vijaya-rāja, Conqueror of the Three Worlds, one of the wisdom kings; and the External Vajradhātu Group. Some drawings are without a title. The pictorial part of the scroll ends with a colophon dated 1770.

The recto of the scroll ends with a diagram that appears to also depict a mandala or parts of one, but with only text and no images. The diagram is followed by a colophon dated early September 1779, with the scribe’s name, Mitsujō shamon Sonnyo 密乗沙門尊如. A later annotator has added further instructions, written on the back of the scroll. At the end of these notes, the 19th-century annotator has added a third colophon, dated December 1845.

Paper creased in places. There is some repeated worming, occasionally touching characters and illustrations, but we do not find it offensive. Preserved in a wooden box.

Price: $5,950.00

Item ID: 9993