Height: 168.000 cm
Width: 123.000 cm
Gift of Sir Marc Aurel Stein
Asia OA 1919,1-1,0.70
Paradise of Amitabha, ink and colours on silk
From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu
Tang Dynasty, 9th century AD
sutras, which describe
the Paradises of various Buddhas, became very popular in Dunhuang
during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The most influential was the
Western Paradise of the
The scenes on the right show the story of King Bimbishara who was imprisoned by his son Ajatashatru. Here the story starts with Bimbishara's sin: he slayed a sage who was then reborn as a white hare. When Bimbishara was later put in prison by his evil son his wife, Queen Vaidehi attempted to save him, only to be imprisoned herself. In captivity she called on the Buddha for help. On the left are shown the sixteen meditations of Queen Vaidehi, starting with the meditation on the setting sun to find the right direction to the Western Paradise.
From Dunhuang and other parts of China Pure Land painting travelled to Japan, where with modifications it remains popular for Buddhist worship to the present day.
R. Whitfield, Art of Central Asia: The Ste-2, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982-85)