painting / 繪畫
Painting of the Pure Land of Amitābha with bodhisattvas and side scenes illustrating the Amitayurdhyana Sutra. Scenes include meditations of Queen Vaidehi and the story of King Bimbisara. Large sections missing. Ink and colours on silk.
- 801-850 (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.lvi.0034 (from bundle Ch.lvi 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: 173.5 centimetres
- Width: 120 centimetres
In general form and appearance, this painting(see also Fig.39)somewhat resembles the Amitābha paradise already examined(Pl.10). Amitabha, with Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta, is seated in the centre. Numerous other Bodhisattvas are arranged in square formations around the two main ones, while two figures kneel and make offerings towards Amitabha from either side of the central altar table. Below, the musicians are seated, five in a row on either side. In front a dancer and a garuda appear on two separate terraces, diminishing in size. Additional triads of a Buddha and attendants appear on the side terraces. The marginal scenes are of the meditations of Queen Vaidehī, on the left, and the story of Bimbisāra, on the right (Figs.40,41). The whole painting is very much abraded and worn, and there are signs of a somewhat hurried finish, for instance in the architectural features at the top of the painting, where no effort has been made to give any depth to the side galleries, and where the bell and drum towers have been fitted in, placed over the side gallery roofs without any means of support.
The detail shown here is of Avalokitesvara, holding a lotus. It is this figure and that of his counterpart Mahāsthāmaprapta on the other side (Fig.42) which provide the main clue to the date of the painting, as unlike all the other figures in it, they are clearly influenced by non-Chinese models. Avalokitesvara, in lalitāsana pose and wearing diaphanous purple trousers and a sash, but otherwise naked above the waist, has an oval halo. Mahāsthāmaprāpta, holding a vajra, has a similar appearance, and both have locks of hair falling on the shoulders, a feature that we shall see in other paintings of the period of Tibetan domination at Dunhuang. In particular, these two Bodhisattvas can be compared with those who accompany Bhaisajyaguru in the very large painting of Pl.16, which is dated A.D. 836,towards the end of that period. Thus we may see transitional characteristics in the art of Dunhuang in the early ninth century, when the process of absorption of fresh sources of style and iconography was still continuing, and before the increasing isolation of Dunhuang from both China and the West led to a corre-sponding loss of vigour in the paintings of the Five Dynasties and Northern Song.該繪畫（參見Fig.39）在形式和外觀上，與已經講過的《阿彌陀佛淨土》很相似（圖10）。中央部位做坐着阿彌陀，以及觀音和勢至。有很多小菩薩圍繞著這幾尊主像，排列成正方形。中央祭壇的兩側，有向阿彌陀跪着奉供物的二菩薩像。其下方的舞臺兩側，各坐一排五個樂伎。舞伎和迦陵頻伽的前方兩側配有兩個獨立的小型寶台，上面佈有一組佛及脅侍。左側邊緣绘韋提希夫人的“十六想觀”，右側邊緣绘“頻婆娑羅的故事”（參見Figs.40，41）。在嚴重殘損的畫面上，又有使人有匆匆忙忙完成的感觉。例如，以畫面上方的建築物來説，沒有著意表現回廊深度，鼓樓、鐘樓均無支撐點，看似直接蓋在回廊的屋頂上。
- Associated with: Pure Land
- (Paradise,Pure Land)
- Associated Title: Amitayurdhyana Sutra ((Sutra of Visualisation))
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.lvi.0034 (Stein no.)
Front Painting of the Pure Land of Amitabha with bodhisattvas and side scenes illustrating the Amitayurdhyana Sutra. Scenes include meditations of Queen Vaidehi and the story of King Bimbisara. Large sections missing. Ink and colours on silk.
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Object reference number: RFC642
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