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painting / 繪畫

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1919,0101,0.35.+

  • Description

    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.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 801-850 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 173.5 centimetres
    • Width: 120 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    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。
    本圖版局部描寫中,觀音菩薩左手持蓮花。此像与对面對應位置上的勢至菩薩(參見Fig.42),为判斷該畫的年代提供了主要線索。即,這二身菩薩与其他像不同,明顯受了不同於中原圖像表現形式的影響。觀音身著紫色網狀袴和帔帛,穩穩坐著,上半身幾乎裸露,有橢圓形頭光。勢至持金剛杵,亦取同樣姿勢。兩者肩上都垂落像蕨芽形的頭髮,此在吐蕃時期的敦煌繪畫中常見。特別是,通过二菩薩的表現形式,與有836年纪年近于吐蕃末期的大幅作品(參見圖16)中藥師的二脅侍菩薩进行比較,我們可以認爲,該繪畫有接近9世紀初敦煌美術在過渡时期的特徵,还在繼續吸取式樣和圖像方面的新鮮事物,它是五代和北宋時期敦煌逐漸隔绝於中原和西方,導致敦煌繪畫喪失活力之前的作品。

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Whitfield 1982 pl.15, figs.39-42 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a pp.1080-1081 bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated places

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: Amitayurdhyana Sutra ((Sutra of Visualisation))
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1919

  • Acquisition notes

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

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1919,0101,0.35.+

  • Additional IDs

    • 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.

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.

Image description

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