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painting / 繪畫

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1919,0101,0.95

  • Description

    Fragmentary painting showing three scenes from the Life of the Buddha, in a landscape setting. The top scene shows Prince Śākyamuni after his departure from home, saying an emotional farewell to Chandaka, his groom, and his horse, Kanthaka. The scene below shows Śākyamuni sitting on a wall, composing himself. The bottom scene shows five messengers sent to search for Śākyamuni by his father. Cartouches on alternate sides of the scenes. As is evident from the visible top of a fourth cartouche, there must have been another scene below. Ink and colours on silk.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 8thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 42.5 centimetres (Mounted in royal card mount)
    • Width: 19 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Originally this banner had four scenes, all set in a continuous landscape and punctuated by blank cartouches set on one side or the other. This organization resembles that of the marginal scenes accompanying the paradise paintings: the diagonals formed by the slopes of the landscape serve to divide one scene from the next and provide space for the action or events depicted. Generally it seems not to have been necessary to inscribe the cartouches, presumably because the story would have been well known to the viewers already.
    The upper section takes up the story of Prince Sakyamuni’s life after his departure from his father’s palace. He is shown bidding farewell to his groom, Chandaka, and his horse, Kanthaka. The occasion is clearly an emotional one for all three, as the groom and the prince both raise their sleeves to wipe away their tears, and the horse also kneels and seems overcome. Immediately above them, an isolated group of distant mountains shows that was the topmost scene shown on this banner. Immediately below, the landscape continues with Sakyamuni, still wearing his three-pronged princely crown, more composed and seated on a ledge while Chandaka and Kanthaka can just be seen descending the valley opposite. The lower part represents the search for the prince by five messengers sent by his father Suddhodana. As the landscape continues below and there is the top of a fourth cartouche, there must have been a fourth scene at the bottom of the banner.
    The messengers are shown as riders, in bright costumes and caps with flowing ribbons. This scene in particular, with the riders in a landscape setting, recalls wall paintings of the early eighth century such as have recently been recovered from princely tombs near Xi’an, especially the scenes of polo playing from the tomb of Zhang Huai 章懷(Tang Li Xian mu bihua, Pls. 15-23).
    Despite a certain summary quality in the painting which leaves one in no doubt that the painter was merely following a model (confirmed by the fact that an almost identical group of riders can be seen in another banner illustrating these episodes from the Stein collection now in New Delhi (Stein, Thousand Buddhas, Pl.XII), there is considerable interest in the depiction of the group and in the many flowering trees, beloved of Tang painters. The bright colours used for such motifs as the rocks show the kind of colour scheme that knew later fame as the blue-green style, traced back to Li Sixun 李思訓and his son at the Tang court in the late seventh and early eighth century.本幡原畫有四個場景,全部設置在一個連續的風景畫中並且在其間插入空白的長方欄作爲場景分隔。這樣的組織畫面類似于淨土圖邊緣部分的故事圖,風景畫的斜綫組成對角綫來劃分一個場景和另一個場景,同時也爲活動和事件的文字說明提供空間,通常這好像不一定需要文字描述的,也許是因爲觀衆對這個故事已經非常熟悉而顯得沒有必要了。
    上部的場景以悉達多太子離開他父親王宮的故事爲開始,畫中表現他告別馬夫車匿和愛馬犍陟的情景,這個場景顯然對於他們三者都是很動情的,因爲馬夫和太子都舉起衣袖擦去眼淚,愛馬也不勝傷感的硊倒在地,就在他們的上面一群獨立的遠山顯示了這是幡畫的最高部位。緊接其下畫面繼續描寫悉達多太子還是戴著他的通天冠,努力控制他的情緒坐在岩石上,車匿和犍陟眼看著消失在山谷裏。較低部分表達了太子的父親淨飯王派出五個使者。查訪太子的情况,因爲風景畫往下延續,幷且殘留有第四個長方框的上部,可知原來有第四個場景在幡畫的底部。
    使者被表現爲騎馬者,穿著亮麗的衣服和帶流蘇的帽子。這個場景尤其是畫中的騎者,使人聯想起八世紀早期的一些壁畫,例如最近發現的西安附近的王室墓葬,尤其是章懷墓中的馬球遊戲的場景(唐麗仙墓壁畫,Pls, 15-23)。
    那些作畫者繪畫時僅僅依據一個模式,這一點被這樣的事實證明---在新德里的斯坦因收藏品中可以看到幾乎完全相同的一群騎馬者。盡管如此,唐代畫家仍然熱愛這種繪畫方式,他們對于描述在很多開花的樹下的人群傾注了極大的熱情。明亮的顔色用于表現諸如岩石這樣的主題,這類顔色系統就是後來知道的所謂藍綠風格,這可以追溯到七世紀晚期至八世紀早期唐朝宮廷畫師李思訓父子。

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Whitfield & Farrer 1990 cat.no.25 bibliographic details
    • Mizuno & Taguchi 1996 cat.no.89 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 2004a fig.10 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a p.1085; vol.IV, pl.LXXVI bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1982 pl.29 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    6 February 1997

    Treatment proposal

    Demount, remount.

    Condition

    Lined onto coloured backing. Float mounted onto an old mount. Some lose threads.

    Treatment details

    Demounted dry. Removed any paper remains with moisture. Re-laid lose silk threads with methyl cellulose. Lightly spray relaxed and placed between blotting paper under a board with weights. Remounted in royal acid free board by MT3.

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Life of the Buddha
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1919

  • Acquisition notes

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

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1919,0101,0.95

  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.lxi.002 (Stein no.)
Front
Painting fragment showing three scenes from the Life of the Buddha, in a landscape setting. The top scene shows Prince Sakyamuni after his departure from home, saying an emotional farewell to Chandaka, his groom, and his horse, Kanthaka. The scene below shows Sakyamuni sitting on a wall, composing himself. The bottom scene shows five messengers sent to search for Sakyamuni by his father. Cartouches on alternate sides of the scenes. As is evident from the visible top of a fourth cartouche, there must have been another scene below. Ink and colours on silk.

Front Painting fragment showing three scenes from the Life of the Buddha, in a landscape setting. The top scene shows Prince Sakyamuni after his departure from home, saying an emotional farewell to Chandaka, his groom, and his horse, Kanthaka. The scene below shows Sakyamuni sitting on a wall, composing himself. The bottom scene shows five messengers sent to search for Sakyamuni by his father. Cartouches on alternate sides of the scenes. As is evident from the visible top of a fourth cartouche, there must have been another scene below. Ink and colours on silk.

Image description

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