painting / banner / 繪畫 / 幡
Painted banner fragment with three scenes from the Life of the Buddha: Buddha seated on a lotus throne; Śākyamuni, shown in a building as a young prince, in discussion with his teachers; and the Iron Targets (drums used in an athletic contest in which Śākyamuni took part). Inscribed cartouches on alternate sides of the middle and bottom scene. Ink and colours on silk.
- 701-850 (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.xlix.006 (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: 42.5 centimetres (Mounted in royal card mount)
- Width: 17.5 centimetres
Inscription Positionin cartouches
Inscription TransliterationYushi taizi (__?) gong zhong yu wenwu xiansheng jiang shi
Inscription TranslationWhen the prince was in discussion with the scholars in the palace.
Inscription CommentDescribing the scenes from the Life of the Buddha. Not quoted in Whitfield.
This fragment and the next evidently belong to the same series, with each scene framed and divided from the next by a striped band with individual florets.
The upper section must have been the top of the banner and was a seated figure of the Buddha with hands in abhaya- and vara-mudrā. There is no accompanying cartouche, as in the remaining scenes, which are inscribed in a neat regular script. The centre scene shows the boy prince seated on a couch, engaged in discussion with the doctors of military science and of literature (one holds a scroll and another an official tablet). Of the lowest scene only the top half is preserved, but this is enough to show that it represented Sākyamuni’s prowess in contest; a similar scene of the iron target drums lined up is to be found in the series of scrolls of the Kako genzai inga-kyō in Japan. Sākyamuni alone was able to pierce them all with his arrow. The competition, along with Sākyamuni uprooting a tree with his bare hands, is also shown in one of the Stein banners now in New Delhi.
Both the actual painting and the writing of the captions accompanying each scene in this and the next banner are very well done, in marked contrast to the summary execution and careless hand visible in another pair of banners with individually framed events (Figs. 82 and 83). There the composition seems to follow an archaic formula, with the figures stiffly distributed in the picture area, with little movement or indication of depth. In the present paintings, on the contrary, the figures are grouped so as to make quite clear their individual relationships, and architectural features are used to advantage in establishing a spatial setting.這個碎片和下一個很明顯屬于同一系列，每個場景是都分別被框起來,用一個由花朵形連成的條紋帶隔開。
Tokyo Metrolpolitan Museum, Japan: Serinde Terre du Bouddha, 1966, Organised by Tibet House, NY
2005 11 Apr-10 Jul, Seoul Arts Centre, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'
19 March 1996
The painting is adhered to the mount with adhesive along all four edges. The silk painting is detached from its secondary support of silk in several places.
The painting was detached from the mount mechanically using a palette knife. Residues of paper and adhesive on the verso were removed by applying some water and then gently removed with a scalpel. Areas of silk which were detached from the secondary support were reattached using wheat starch paste. The painting was inlaid using an esparto paper.
- Associated Event: Life of the Buddha
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.xlix.006 (Stein no.)
Front Painted banner fragment with three scenes from the Life of the Buddha: Buddha seated on a lotus throne; Sakyamuni, shown in a building as a young prince, in discussion with his teachers; and the Iron Targets (drums used in an athletic contest in which Sakyamuni took part). Inscribed cartouches on alternate sides of the middle and bottom scene. Ink and colours on silk.
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Object reference number: RFC703
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