painting / 繪畫
Painting of Avalokiteśvara seated on a lotus, behind an altar and surrounded by other bodhisattvas. Three male and three female donors. Central male donor is Zhang Geqiao, whose parents are right and left of the central inscription.
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.00167 (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: 91.5 centimetres
- Width: 59.1 centimetres
Inscription Positionin cartouches.
Inscription TransliterationUnder throne: Nanmo guanshiyin pusa
Inscription TranslationUnder throne: Praise to the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Left of altar: Praise to the Bodhisattva who offers up precious incense. Right of altar: Praise to the Bodhisattva who makes offering. Center: Says "4th year of Kaibao, a renshen year." Renshen is the ninth year of the 60-year cycle and it was actually the fifth year of Kaibao (so inscription is incorrect), The date should be 15 October, AD 972. Zhang Geqiao identified as central male donor, younger brother on his right, his parents to right and left of central inscription. The other two women are "new wives," but not clear whose.
Many features typify this small votive painting as characteristic of late tenth century Buddhist art at Dunhuang. The viewer is at once aware of the bright colouring, in which green and orange tones predominate, and of the prominence of the donors below, all identically apparelled. Both features immediately recall the wall paintings of many of the tenth century caves at Dunhuang, where pale green is often the prevailing tone, and rows of donors, almost life-sized, parade around the walls (e.g., Cave 61; Dunhuang bihua, Pl. 204). In this painting, the men stand on a fringed carpet; the ladies opposite wear elaborate headdresses with hairpins and bright yellow ornaments (intended to be golden). The edges of their sleeves reveal embroidered floral patterns.
Despite the lavish ornamentation, however, the actual execution of the painting reveals the simplified approach due to the comparative isolation of Dunhuang at this time. Little room is left for the eight Bodhisattvas surrounding Avalokitesvara; even the altar cloth, with “Praise to the Bodhisattva Guanyin” written on it, has no lower border, and the last two characters have had to be fitted in as best they may since the writer failed to judge the space correctly.
The dated inscription (Fig. 35), which is presented as though written on a stone tablet, appears to reflect the predominant importance of the donors. Its wishes refer only to the family of the chief donor, Zhang Keqiao, captain of infantry troops. The cyclical year renshen in actual fact corresponds to the fifth year of the Kaibao reign, rather than the fourth as written here: as Waley pointed out, the cyclical date (A. D.972) is likely to be the correct one.此小型供養畫，多方面體現了敦煌10世紀後期佛教美術的特點。看到此繪畫時，首先引起注意的是綠和橙色爲主調的明亮的配色，以及下欄出現的同一姿態的男女供養人像。這些特色直接讓人想起敦煌石窟10世紀的大多數壁畫。可是壁畫中淡綠色爲主調的場景比較多，供養人像幾乎是等身大，排列在牆壁的周圍（如參照第61窟：《敦煌壁畫》圖版204）。此絹畫中，男人像並排站在有裝飾邊的墊上，對面的女人像可見帶著鮮黃色（用以代表金飾）的頭飾和簪子的豪華髮型。兩者的衣物袖口都有刺繡的花紋。
1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.170
1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.170
1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.170
2003 18 Oct-14 Dec, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 17 Jan-28 Mar, Kobe City Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 10 Apr-13 Jun, Fukuoka Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 26 Jun-29 Aug, Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.00167 (Stein no.)
Front Painting of Avalokitesvara seated on a lotus, behind an altar and surrounded by other bodhisattvas. Three male and three female donors. Central male donor is Zhang Geqiao, whose parents are right and left of the central inscription. This later painting is not of the highest quality (note poorly executed inscription under throne). Ink and colours on silk.
If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: email@example.com
Object reference number: RFC660
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.