Height: 79.300 cm
Width: 62.000 cm
Gift of Sir Marc Aurel Stein
Asia OA 1919,1-1,0.17
Thousand-armed, thousand-eyed Avalokiteshvara, ink and colours on silk
From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu
Tang dynasty, 8th - early 9th century AD
Esoteric icon for worship
The figure of the thousand-armed, thousand-eyed
The bodhisattva is supported by a lotus with two donor figures worshipping him. At the top Suryaprabha and Chandraprabha (the bodhisattvas of the sun and the moon) are shown in their respective chariots, but in the wrong order. The white disk indicates the moon, the red disk the sun. However the horses should belong to the sun (originating from the Indian sun god Surya), and the geese to the moon.
The carefully executed details and the clothing of the donor figures indicate a relatively early date for this painting within the material found at Mogao.
R. Whitfield, Art of Central Asia: The Ste-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982-85)