The Sanskrit Manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā- Prajñāpāramitā Exhibited at the Exhibition "Indian Buddhist Art, From Indian Museum, Kolkata" Held at Tokyo National Museum
446 , 2016-03 , 東京大学東洋文化研究所
The Sanskrit manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā-Prajñāpāramitā exhibited at the exhibition "Indian Buddhist Art, From Indian Museum, Kolkata" held at Tokyo National Museum from 17 March to 17 May 2015 is worth noting because of the inclusion of many illustrations of esoteric Buddhist deities. According to the data provided by the Indian Museum, this manuscript originated in Varendrabhūmi under the rule of the Pāla dynasty. However, I immediately realized that it corresponds to missing folios of the Sanskrit manuscript of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā- Prajñāpāramitā in the possession of the Varendra Research Museum in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, which I examined in 2011. The Indian Museum fragment consists of 10 of the 12 missing folios of the Varendra Research Museum manuscript. The Varendra Research Museum manuscript contains a colophon according to which it was copied during the reign of King Sadāśiva Malla in Nepal Saṃvat 696. But the final folio containing this colophon is thought to have been restored at a later date. The Varendra Reseach Museum manuscript was examined by BARC, Ryukoku University, in 2010. In addition, Gudrun Melzer and Eva Allinger published a transcription of the colophon and translated it into German in 2012. However, they did not consider the arrangement of the illustrations, a characteristic of this manuscript. In this article, I consider the date and origin of this manuscript mainly with reference to the arrangement and iconography of the illustrations of esoteric Buddhist deities.