Height: 69.000 cm
Width: 19.300 cm
Gift of Sir Marc Aurel Stein
Asia OA 1919,1-1,0.100
Scenes from the Life of the Buddha, ink and colours on a silk banner
From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu
Tang dynasty, 9th century AD
This painting was executed in a more sketchy style than others of a similar subject from the Mogao caves. The highly finished paintings, where expensive colours and even gold were used, were reserved for the privileged donors who paid the most. Those in a simpler style where fewer colours were used, were probably cheaper and therefore more readily available to less wealthy donors.
likely that this and other banners showing scenes from the life of
the Buddha were part of a series. At the top of this banner, the
Five Companions of
The lowest scene represents the time when Shakyamuni realized that fasting and following a life of extremities would not lead him to Enlightenment. To the shock of his followers he went to take a bath in the Nairanjana River. A spirit supported on a cloud came to his help.
R. Whitfield, Art of Central Asia: The Ste-2, vol. 1 (Tokyo, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982-85)