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painting / 繪畫

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1919,0101,0.28.+

  • Description

    Avalokiteśvara seated on a lotus throne, identified in inscription as "Succourer in trouble", with small bodhisattva figures floating in the sky. Lotus stems rise beside the throne. The principal donors are the monk Zhigang and the nun Shengming, accompanied by two other nuns, offering the painting on behalf of deceased nuns and clerics. Dated by inscription. Ink and colours on silk.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 892
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 83.3 centimetres
    • Width: 63.1 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        in cartouches
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Translation

        Inscription dated 3rd year of Dashun period (AD 892), reign of Zhaozong. Not yet translated.
  • Curator's comments

    This modest painting epitomizes the thoughts of those who offered it and who are portrayed below. Although the artistic standard of the execution is at best moderate, it is clear that it amply satisfied them. It still has a colourful border of damask printed by the jiaban夾版(Japanese: kyokechi) technique (see Vol.3). A cartouche at the upper left bears the dedication “with whole heart” to Avalokitesvara as Succourer in Trouble. Arouble the canopy appear small figures of Bodhisattvas offering bowls of flowers, and musical instruments tied with ribbons, reminiscent of those seen in paradise paintings, for example Pl.19.Avalokitesvara himself with a “parent” Buddha in his tiara and a third eye on his forehead is seated on a lotus throne that rises on a tripod base out of a lotus pool whence also emerge other lotuses, some on long leafy stems framing the Bodhisattva on either side.
    The inscription below, dated in the third year of Dashun (A.D.892), identifies the principal donors, the monk Zhigang and the nun Shengming, and states that the painting is offered on behalf of deceased nuns and clerics, in perpetual dedication. The two donors are seen on either side of the inscription, the monk with a hand censer, the nun holding a dish and accompanied by two more nuns (Fig. 74). On the left, behind the monk, are a lay man and woman. They are of great interest since the coiffure of the lady, with a comb and a single hairpin, shows the transition from the plain garb of the early ninth-century donors to the ever more elaborate headdresses, generally with several long hairpins, common in the tenth century. A stylistic transition is visible here too, moving away from the earlier relaxed position, with hands in lap (e.g., Pl.7-5, and Cave 329,Dunhuang bihua, Pl.126) to a stiff repetition in which all the donors lean slightly back at the same angle, their hands all raised high in front of the chest. Only some thirty years earlier, in Stein painting 5(Pl.23 and Fig.73), the stance of the donors is markedly more upright, and the hairpins have still not made their appearance. In this last painting, as in the one shown here, the outer garments of the donors are of a warm brown colour, without the strong contrast of black outer robe and yellow or white inner lining that is exploited in the stereotyped donors of the tenth-century paintings.此幅高雅的繪畫似乎凝聚了繪于下段肖像中供養者們的意願。藝術水準充其量是中等水平,而供養者們大概十分滿意。畫上,殘留著夾纈染的花邊飾,上部左邊的榜題上寫着表示對救苦觀音“一心供養”的獻辭。華蓋周圍可見手捧花盤的二身雲上菩薩和結著彩帶的樂器,使人想起圖19的淨土圖。觀音寶冠上戴著化佛,額上有第三隻眼睛,坐於蓮華座上,而蓮華座乘在置於蓮池外側三腳的壇基上。從蓮池伸出葉子繁茂的長莖,環繞菩薩立於兩旁,莖端盛開美麗的花朵。
    下段的題記中記有大順三年(892年)的紀年、供養人沙門智剛和尼勝明的名字外,還記述了已故的比丘尼施捨此畫爲永世供養的事迹。上述二個供養人像在靠近題記兩邊,比丘右手持帶柄香爐,比丘尼則兩手捧盤。比丘尼背後又有兩個比丘尼。隨比丘背後有世俗的男人和婦人(參見Fig.74)。這些像中可見幾處有趣的特點。首先婦人梳子外還插有一個簪子,這可窺到9世紀初的供養人簡單的髮飾,正向10世紀盛行長簪子的華麗髮飾過渡的跡象。另外,供養者姿勢也有變化,畫中的人物沒有早期作品中把兩手隨意放在膝上的姿勢(參照圖7-5以及《敦煌壁畫》圖126,329窟),而是全都把兩手舉於胸前,以同一角度向後傾斜的姿勢不自然的排列著。比它僅僅早30年左右的圖23的《四觀音文殊普賢圖》中,供養人是筆直而坐(參照Fig.73),也沒有簪子。有供養人像的圖,此畫是本卷中最後一例,供養人像的外衣呈暖褐色,不同於10世紀供養人一律穿著對比強烈的黑色外衣加黃色或白色裏子。

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  • Bibliography

    • Stein 1921a p.1018 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 2004b pl.184 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1982 Pl.26, figs 74-77 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    2012 5th May -29th July, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ‘The Printed Image in China’

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1919

  • Acquisition notes

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

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1919,0101,0.28.+

  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.xx.005 (Stein no.)
Front
Avalokitesvara seated on a lotus throne, identified in inscription as "Soccourer in trouble", with small bodhisattva figures floating in the sky. Lotus stems rise beside the throne.  The principal donors are the monk Zhigang and the nun Shengming, accompanied by two other nuns, offering the painting on behalf of deceased nuns and clerics. Dated by insription. Ink and colours on silk.

Front Avalokitesvara seated on a lotus throne, identified in inscription as "Soccourer in trouble", with small bodhisattva figures floating in the sky. Lotus stems rise beside the throne. The principal donors are the monk Zhigang and the nun Shengming, accompanied by two other nuns, offering the painting on behalf of deceased nuns and clerics. Dated by insription. Ink and colours on silk.

Image description

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