The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, ca. 1780-90. Creator: Unknown
The Churning of the Ocean of Milk, ca. 1780-90. At the time of the great deluge aeons ago, many treasures— including amrita, the nectar of immortality—were lost beneath the primordial ocean. Gods and demons still jockeying for power decided to raise these powerful objects from the watery depths. They harnessed the serpent Vasuki as a rope to turn Mount Mandara and Vishnu assumed his tortoise avatar to support the giant pivot. The demons, tricked into pulling the head of the snake, were weakened by its poisonous breath. Here, many of the treasures have already been raised and are visible in the sky, while Vishnu is seen twice, below and atop the peak.
© Heritage Art/Heritage Images
Nichiren Calming the Storm, c1830s. Creator: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)
Nichiren Calming the Storm, c. 1830s (colour woodblock print). Nichiren (1222-1282) was a Buddhist saint whose life was studded with miracles; this image depicts one such miracle, threatened by a storm concocted by an evil spirit whilst on the way to exile in Sado, Nichiren calmed the raging water with an invocation - a spell, saving himself and his crew; this is described in the sutra of the lotus of the Wonderful Law.
© Historica Graphica Collection / Heritage-Images
Divination thangka. The upper gold chakra (circle) has mantras in Tibetan and Sanskrit. The lower, held by the Demon of Time, has a magic square, Chinese trigrams and the 12 animals of the Tibetan calender at its centre. Images above include Buddha Shakyamuni, below are War-Gods and Nagas. Country of Origin: Tibet. Culture: Buddhist. Date/Period: 18th - early 19th C. Place of Origin: East Tibet, poss. Labrang monastery. Material Size: cotton, gold leaf. 50 cm x 35 cm. Credit Line: Werner Forman Archive/ Spink & Son, London. Location: 10.
© Werner Forman Archive / Heritage-Images