painting / 繪畫
Painting showing a standing figure of Avalokiteśvara holding a willow branch and a vase. Blank cartouche at top left. Ink and colours on silk.
- 851-900 (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.liii.005 (from bundle Ch.liii at Cave 17 at Ch’ien Fo Tung (pinyin: Qian Fo Dong))
- (Asia,China,Gansu (province),Dunhuang,Qian Fo Dong (Caves of the Thousand Buddhas))
- Excavated/Findspot: 千佛洞
- Height: 148.3 centimetres
- Width: 55.9 centimetres
This impressive standing figure of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, holding a willow spray in his right hand and a sprinkler vase in his left, displays features shared with other representations of the same Bodhisattva, such as those shown in Pls. 2 and 3 and in Vol. 1, Pl. 23.
The suggestion for a possible date in the second half of the ninth century arises from resemblances to the dated painting of four Avalokitesvaras, Manjusri and Samantabhadra, dedicated in A.D. 864 (Vol. 1, Pl. 23). The four figures there do not display the same swaying pose as the present painting, but the general outline of the face and arrangement of the headdress is very similar. Beginning with the headdress, the hair is seen above an elaborate crown, in a high chignon. Below the crown, the hair frames the forehead in a smooth curve, and around the ears and the upper part of the shoulders as a continuous narrow black edging. The nimbus is also of the same type as two of those in the dated painting, with a single outer band ornamented with cloud motifs.
Turning to the garments, the upper half of the body, clearly under Indian influence, is unclothed save for ornaments and scarves. Behind the shoulders, the apparently unsupported double loop of one of the latter again recalls the four Avalokitesvaras of the dated painting, as does the yellow and orange under-robe with its agitated pattern of folds.
In both paintings, but especially in the present one, it is clear that considerable attention was paid to achieving a harmonious balance of curving forms. There is under-drawing in a pale red as well as in ink, and darker ink has been used to accent salient features such as the eyelids and the mouthline. The latter shows the first signs of a development from a plain line with swelling ends to a hooked form. It is interesting to note that the final accenting lines in a darker ink quite often ignore the outlines earlier laid down in red or pale ink, suggesting that a different hand or master painter was responsible for adding the final touches.此精美的觀世音菩薩立像，右手持小柳枝，左手持淨瓶，姿態與圖2、3以及第1卷圖23等的觀音像相同。
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.liii.005 (Stein no.)
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Object reference number: RFC613
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