The Golden Manuscript is composed of 184 leaves of sixteen texts, nineteen introductory vignettes and five groups of illustrations (ritual objects, mandala, cakra, and linga).
The Buddhist mandala constitutes the residence of the divinity in which the faithful penetrate through meditation; the cakra is a protective diagram formed of concentric circles; in Tantric Buddhism the linga designates the effigy of the human form, symbolising passions.
The technique of the illustrations is based on a fine line of gold and silver on black paper, to which are added touches of green, blue and red to give life to forms and movements.
The knot of everlasting life, a symbol of longevity, is one of the eight good omens of Buddhism, widely used in its iconography.
This motif is represented in certain illustrations of the Golden Manuscript, made between 1674 and 1681. (Donation by Lionel Fournier to the Guimet Museum)