Height: 68.200 cm
Width: 19.000 cm
Gift of Sir Marc Aurel Stein
Asia OA 1919,1-1,0.125*
Bodhisattva with censer, ink and colours on a silk banner
From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu
Tang dynasty, late 9th century AD
A popular subject for worship
This is the painted area of a banner, which has
now lost its triangular top and streamers. The single figure of a
Here the bodhisattva holds a censer in his left hand of the type of which actual examples were excavated in places such as the Famensi temple near Xi'an. Donors are also often shown holding similar censers. It is not an attribute of a specific bodhisattva, and neither the headdress decorated with flaming jewels or the empty cartouche give us any further clues to his identity.
Other banners show almost identical bodhisattva figures, clearly indicating that stencils or pounces were used to make such paintings at Dunhuang.
R. Whitfield, Art of Central Asia: The Ste-2, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982-85)
R. Whitfield and A. Farrer, Caves of the thousand Buddhas: (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)