Gilt-bronze figure of Padmapani

From China
Northern Wei Dynasty, dated AD 471

A popular deity in early Chinese Buddhism

Buddhism was introduced to China before AD 65, though it was only during the Six Dynasties period (221-598) that it began to flourish, with the central Asian invaders who took over northern China embracing it as the official religion.

Small portable objects of worship were important in spreading Buddhism and were produced in great numbers. It is known that when Buddhist monks arrived in China, they brought with them doctrines and small sculptures. This figure of the bodhisattva Padmapani, or the 'Lotus-Bearer', a manifestation of Avalokiteshvara, was a popular deity in early Chinese Buddhism, who listened to people's outcry for help. The stiff, rather rough figure reflects the influence from the art of the Northern Wei dynasty (386-535). The mandorla with the fierce fire design, and the flame-like robes are also seen in Northern Wei sculpture.

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Height: 25.500 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1958.4-28.1


Gift of P.T. Brooke Sewell


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