painting / banner / 繪畫 / 幡
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Finely painted banner fragment with two scenes from the Life of the Buddha, showing two of the Four Encounters made by Śākyamuni, as he leaves the palace on his white horse: old age (top) and sickness (bottom). Inscribed cartouches on alternate sides of the scenes. Ink and colours on silk.
- 701-850 (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.lv.0016 (from bundle Ch.lv 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: 37.5 centimetres
- Width: 17.7 centimetres
Inscription Positionin cartouches
Inscription Transliteration1. Yushi taizi chucheng dongmen guanjian laoren wen yin(__?) shi 2. Yushi taizi chucheng nanmen jian ui bingren wen yin(__?) shi
Inscription Translation1. When the prince came out of the city by the East gate and encountered an old person. 2. When the prince came out of the city by the Sounth gate and saw a sick person.
Inscription CommentNot quoted in Whitfield.
By its clear relationship with the preceding banner, this fragment, showing two of the Four Encounters (all four-Old Age, Sickness, Death, and the Religious Life-are shown on another banner in New Delhi), implies the existence of an orderly series of banners, presenting the events of Sākyamuni’s life in sequence.
Much care was taken in the execution: unlike the inscriptions on many of the votive banners, the characters in the cartouches are neatly written, of a standard size and well chosen to fill the space available exactly. The style of the figures and of the architecture echoes this care. In both banners the architecture is drawn with slender elements, although not yet so attenuated as that of the side scenes of the south wall of Cave 25 at Yulin, where the columns have become truly pencil-thin. The figures and Sākyamuni’s horse are compact and beautifully organized within the space available. Although the overall impression, from colouring and setting, is very different from that of Pl.38, an examination of such details as the fine delineation of the bony structure of the horse’s head and the accurately drawn harness reveals a close similarity. The initial impression distinguishing the two may have much to do with the subjects: here and in Pl.34 it is the civilized and orderly background of the prince’s sheltered life in the palace of his father that is shown, while his new life as a religious ascetic begins in the untamed surroundings of the wilderness, allowing the artist full scope for the depiction of a grandiose landscape with crags and cliffs (Pl.38).根據它與前一幡的明顯關系。這個斷片，表現了四門出游中的兩個(四門包括：老年、疾病、死亡和出家——在新德里的另一幡畫中有表現)，暗示著一個有秩序的系列幡畫的存在，表現了釋迦牟尼生活事件的連續性。
Tokyo Metrolpolitan Museum, Japan; Serinde Terre Du Bouddha (1996), organised by Tibet House, NY.
2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'
25 March 1996
The silk painting is lifting from its secondary support of silk in several places. The secondary support has been adhered along all four edges to the mount which is composed of poor quality mount board. At some stage it is recommended that the painting is relined because the fragments are not aligned correctly.
The painting was detached from the mount using a palette knife and any residues dues of paper or adhesive were removed with a scalpel. Areas of the painting which were detached from the secondary support were reattached using wheat starch paste. The object was inlaid using an esparto paper.
- Associated Event: Life of the Buddha
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.lv.0016 (Stein no.)
Front Finely painted banner fragment with two scenes from the Life of the Buddha, showing two of the Four Encounters made by Sakyamuni, as he leaves the palace on his white horse: old age (top) and sickness (bottom). Inscribed cartouches on alternate sides of the scenes. Ink and colours on silk.
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Object reference number: RFC701
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