painting / 繪畫
Painting of Avalokiteśvara standing under a canopy, with distinctive aureole banded in green red, yellow and blue. He holds a sprinkler vase in his left hand, and in the right hand a lotus stem crowned with Amitābha Buddha. Seven scenes with perils set in a simple landscape painted in red and green. Apsarasas in top corners. Donor figures with a small child next to inscription in the lower register. Ink and colours on silk.
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.xxi.001 (from 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: 107 centimetres
- Width: 61.5 centimetres
Inscription Positionin cartouche
Inscription TranslationInscription faded. In the text the date is given as 4th year of Jianlong reign (AD 963). Not yet translated.
This is an interesting and well-painted work with some unusual features considering its late date. Avalokitesvara, standing in the centre, is reminiscent of scenes of the Buddha preaching at the Vulture Peak, by reason of the large almond-shaped aureole. Its strong banding of green, red, yellow and blue, without other decorative designs, contains and unifies the figure and its flowing scarves. Avalokitesvara holds a sprinkler vase in his left hand, while his right holds a lotus stem crowned by the “parent” figure of Amitabha. This figure is thus given special prominence, by appearing to one side instead of centrally in the headdress. The headdress itself has red, purple and blue flowers among the gold-coloured ornament, and upward-fluttering ribbons. The outer ring of the halo is rich purple with flames drawn in ink.
This richness and variety is continued in the top part of the painting where apsarasas scattering flowers and incense (Pl. 25-2) are seen in varied attitudes on either side of the elaborate canopy, with long scarves floating in graceful curves. Below, on either side of main figure, the various Perils illustrated also seem to display rather more originality than those of, for instance, Pl. 18. At the top left, a man is seen being chased by an armoured rider with a sword; a figure is seen drowning; a lady in flowered red trousers is fleeing from a wolf; and a man in a purple jacket is being pursued by a lean yellow leopard.
From the top right are a man in stocks; a man fleeing with a camel (perhaps this is a variant of the storm theme seen in other paintings); and finally a boy in a mauve flowered jacket, set upon by a bearded man with a sword (Pl. 25-3). These seven scenes are all set in a fairly simple landscape of red and green (which has generally corroded the silk), with spindly trees indicated in ink on the skylines, and other sparse vegetation. Unlike the lively interest of the figures, this landscape is unmistakably tenth century in character, as of course are the donor figures below, joined by a small child next to the central inscription (Fig.28).本畫描摹精致，它所具有的一些宋代畫中少見的特點也頗引人注意。站在中央的觀音，被杏仁形的大型身光環繞，使人想起《靈鷲山釋迦說法圖》。其身光只以明快的綠、紅、黃、青色的帶構成，沒有其他裝飾花紋，佛像和天衣完全被圍在裏面。觀音左手提淨瓶，右手持頂上有化佛的蓮莖。因此化佛沒有出在寶冠中央，卻出現在靠近一側的位置上，是此像極爲特殊的地方。頭上有金色的寶冠和向上方飄揚的彩帶，其間裝飾有紅、紫、青等色的花。頭光最外側的圓是深紫色的，其上有墨描的火焰紋。
2016 – 2017, Germany, PROMISED
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.xxi.001 (Stein no.)
Front Painting of Avalokitesvara standing under a canopy, with distinctive aureole banded in green red, yellow and blue. He holds a sprinkler vase in his left hand, and in the right hand a lotus stem crowned with Amitabha Buddha. Seven scenes with perils set in a simple landscape painted in red and green. Apsarasas in top corners. Donor figures with a small child next to inscription in the lower register. Ink and colours on silk.
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Object reference number: RFC626
British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.
The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.