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painting / 繪畫

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1919,0101,0.5

  • Description

    Votive painting with four standing figures of Avalokiteśvara in the upper register, each identified in a cartouche, dressed in the Indian style. Below are Samantabhadra on an elephant and Mañjuśrī on a lion, accompanied by bodhisattvas in flowing Chinese-style dress, carrying three-tiered canopies. At the bottom, donor figures, all from the same family (Tang) and a central inscription. Ink and colours on silk.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 864
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 140.7 centimetres
    • Width: 97 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        in cartouches
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Translation

        (Inscription in lowest cartouche) "First, on behalf of the present Emperor; second on behalf of his envoy... third, on behalf of his departed parents and all his family... May they (escape) both earthly disasters and obstacles to salvation. Xiantong 5th year [AD 864]
      • Inscription Comment

        Translation after Waley 1931, p. 10.
  • Curator's comments

    Until the recent identification of a date on Pl.16, this was thought to be the earliest dated painting in the Stein collection. The subject testifies to the great popularity of Avalokitesvara at Dunhuang, as well as to that of Manjusri and Samantabhadra. Each of the Bodhisattvas is identified by a cartouche, without whose help it would be impossible to distinguish the four in the top row. For instance the third from the right is labeled “Great Merciful, Eleven-faced Guanshiyin”, although like the rest he has just the single figure of Amitabha in his headdress (Pl.23-3). Nevertheless, this Bodhisattva seems to have attracted the special devotion of one of the donors, who has added his own name in the space left in the cartouche.
    While the four Bodhisattvas at the top all wear garments and adornments in “Indian” style, though modified to adapt to Chinese taste, particularly in the long underrobe falling in symmetrical folds of reddish pink down to the feet, the figures of Manjusri and Samantabhadra appear entirely in Chinese style (Pl.23-2). Especially in the attendant figures of Bodhisattvas holding triple umbrellas, the initial under-drawing in ink shows clearly beneath the flesh colour of features such as the face and hands. Details such as the mouthline, ending in a swelling upward turn (Pl. 23-4, Fig.71), the eyebrows and nose were re-emphasised in darker ink after completion of the colour work, usually without the spontaneity and swiftness of the under-drawing, but with a more careful weighting of line to accent the contours. The dark hair falling from the shoulders can easily be seen to have been painted at this stage as well, and here too the under-drawing in outline only can be seen beneath.
    The haloes display just a few basic types, with wavy “rainbow” haloes alternating with ones featuring double cloud spirals in the upper row of figures. The same cloud type is used for the standing Bodhisattvas below at the sides, those in the centre having green overlapping petals, also found in the centre of the mandorlas behind Manjusri and Samantabhadra. The latter also have cloud patterns on their haloes, and the painted motif is found only in the outer ring of their mandorlas. There is thus a pleasing symmetry and unity in the painting, which extends even to the contrast between upturned and downturned petals in the pedestals of the upper figures. The predominance of gentle curves and spirals in the halo decorations contrasts with those of later periods when even minor Bodhisattvas sport the more geometric or pointed halo motifs.
    At the bottom of the painting, in the centre between the single monk and three laymen on the right, and the two nuns and two women on the left, is the cartouche which dates this work (Fig.73), reading from right to left:
    一爲當今皇帝二爲本使□
    三爲先亡父母及合□□□
    無之灾障□□
    咸通五年□
    First, on behalf of the present Emperor; second, on behalf of his envoy... third, on behalf of his departed parents and all his family...May they (escape) both earthly disasters and obstacles to salvation. Hsien T’ung [Xiantong] 5th(year) [A.D.864]. (Trans. Waley, 1931,p.10.)
    This inscription and the donors themselves are shown in a separate narrow register at the bottom of the painting, divided from it by a band of lozenges. Mary Fong (1972) has compared them with other donors of the second half of the ninth century in Cave 85 (dated 867) and Cave 107 (dated 872) at Dunhuang. As Waley has noted, the ladies wear just a single comb in their hair without any of the hairpins common at a later date.近年,考證彩色圖版第16圖的年代時,曾把該繪畫看作是斯坦因搜集的敦煌畫中年代最早的作品。此繪畫的主題證明觀音、文殊和普賢在敦煌都深受歡迎。菩薩的名字通過榜題中記錄的像名可以確認,如果沒有榜題,就無法識別上段的四身菩薩。例如,右邊第三尊像(參見圖23-3)記爲“大悲十一面觀世音菩薩”,但却與其他三身像一樣,寶冠上只有一個化佛。儘管這樣,這位菩薩似乎凝聚著一個供養人特殊的信仰之心,他在榜題的空白處寫了自己的名字。
    上段的四觀音身上的袈裟和裝飾品,全都是迎合中國的喜好而改變了的印度風格。特別是布滿紅粉色縐褶、左右對稱直垂到腳的長裙,是其典型的例子。與此相對,下方文殊和普賢的衣裳完全是中國風格的(參見圖23-2)。其他諸像,尤其是持三層傘蓋的脅侍菩薩,能清楚看到其面部和手的顔色下面有底稿的墨線。邊端稍顯膨脹的唇線(參見圖23-4,Fig.71)以及眉、鼻等的線,都是在上完彩色後再用濃墨描繪成的,但這種線條幾乎無例外地沒有底稿線那樣的自然流利,只是爲重視強調輪廓而谨慎運用的手法。從兩肩垂下的黑髮也是後來用濃墨塗的,可見到輪廓的底稿線。
    頭光的表現多少使用了基本的型式。上段諸像的頭光,是波浪虹狀紋和雙雲旋渦紋交替搭配。下段兩端的立像菩薩用著同樣的雙雲旋渦紋,內側菩薩的綠色頭光有重疊的花瓣,在文殊和普賢背光的中心部分也可見到同樣的紋樣。文殊和普賢的頭光也有雙雲旋渦紋,只有背光的外緣部分是別樣的,使用了像劍一樣帶尖的紋樣。此畫中保持了令人舒適的左右對稱的統一性,這些還涉及到上段,諸像的蓮華座,兩端的二身是仰瓣,中間二身的則是向下的重瓣等的表現中。頭光的花紋主要是由平穩的曲線和旋渦卷構成,與後世小菩薩的頭光都變成了幾何圖樣或尖銳花紋成對比。
    畫面最下段為供養人像(參見Fig.73),右邊是一比丘和三俗世男子,左邊是二比丘尼和二婦人,中央有從右往左豎寫並有紀年的題記:
    一爲當今皇帝二爲本使□
    三爲先亡父母及合□□□
    無之災障□□
    咸通五年□
    與上部畫面間有花紋帶隔離的題記和附有各自名字的供養人像,被繪在最下段的細帶狀的部位。Mary Fong(1972)試著將此畫與9世紀後半葉的敦煌第85窟(867年)及第107窟(872年)壁畫中的供養人像做了比較(博士論文)。Waley的敍述也涉及到這方面,注意到婦人們頭髮上只是插著一把梳子,沒有使用以後作品中常用的簪子。

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  • Bibliography

    • Whitfield & Farrer 1990 cat.no.5 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 2004a frontispiece bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a p.1068 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1982 pl.23 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921b pl.XVI bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2003 18 Oct-14 Dec, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 17 Jan-28 Mar, Kobe City Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 10 Apr-13 Jun, Fukuoka Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2004 26 Jun-29 Aug, Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
    2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1919

  • Acquisition notes

    For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1919,0101,0.5

  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.lv.0023 (Stein no.)
Front
Votive painting with four standing figures of Avalokitesvara in the upper register, each identified by a cartouche, dressed in the Indian style.  Below are Samantabhadra on an elephant and Manjusri on a lion, accompanied by bodhisattvas in flowing Chinese-style dress, carrying three-tiered canopies.  At the bottom, donor figures, all from the same family (Tang) and a central inscription. Ink and colours on silk.

Front Votive painting with four standing figures of Avalokitesvara in the upper register, each identified by a cartouche, dressed in the Indian style. Below are Samantabhadra on an elephant and Manjusri on a lion, accompanied by bodhisattvas in flowing Chinese-style dress, carrying three-tiered canopies. At the bottom, donor figures, all from the same family (Tang) and a central inscription. Ink and colours on silk.

Image description

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