Description

The Eight Buddhist Treasures, also known as Ashtamangala, are a suite of eight auspicious symbols relating to Buddhism. They often feature in the arts of Buddhist cultures, including sword mounts.

The classic eight, commonly encountered on Tibetan and Chinese art, are:

Wheel of dharma
Represents Gautama Buddha and the Dharma teaching.

Endless knot
Symbolizes love and the intertwined unity of everything.

Conch shell
Refers to the Buddha's teaching spreading in all directions like the sound of the conch trumpet, awakening his subjects from the deep slumber of ignorance.

Victory banner
The symbol represents the Buddha's victory over the four hindrances in the path of enlightenment; pride, desire, disturbing emotions, and the fear of death.

Lotus flower
Emerging from the murky, muddy depths, growing towards the light and producing a pristinely white flower above the surface, lotus symbolizes the path towards enlightenment.

Pair of fish
Symbolizes moving freely and spontaneously, without fear of drowning in the ocean of suffering.

Treasure vase
Symbolizes long life, wealth and prosperity.

Parasol
A symbol of protection from the suffering experienced in the lower realms of existence.

 

Numerous variations to this list exist. Nepali Buddhists, for example, replace the wheel of dharma for a fly whisk. A Yuan dynasty dish, one of the earliest depictions of the suit known to me, replace the parasol for a pair of rhino tusks. This symbol is more often encountered in a different set, the Eight Auspicious Symbols.

Yuan dishCup Stand with a variety of the Eight Buddhist Treasures, Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Metropolitan Museum, New York. Accession number 2007.187
It replaces the parasol for a pair of rhinoceros horns.

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