What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site

 

Collection online

Additional options
Production date to

Or search by

Searching...

painting / banner / 繪畫 / 幡

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1919,0101,0.125

  • Description

    Painted banner with Kṣitigarbha standing on a lotus, shown as a monk with a shaven head and wearing a patchwork robe (kasaya). Inscription in cartouche. Ink and colours on silk.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 9thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 58 centimetres
    • Width: 18.5 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        in cartouche
      • Inscription Language

        Chinese
      • Inscription Translation

        Praise to Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha
      • Inscription Comment

        Cartouche inscribed on back, so characters appear in reverse and are partially obscured.
  • Curator's comments

    Those Bodhisattvas already examined are not easily identifiable, due to the absence of distinguishing attributes. Except for the lack of a “parent” figure in the headdress, they might easily be identified as Avalokitesvaras. Only one Bodhisattva, however, wears the patched robe and shaven head of a monk, namely, Ksitigarbha. In this painting he is identified in the accompanying cartouche: “Praise to Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.”
    Ksitigarbha, although hard to trace in Indian mythology, became extremely popular in China, as the many depictions of him among the Dunhuang banners testify (several from the Pelliot collection as well as those shown here from the Stein collection). He is represented with closely shaven head, as here, or as the patron of travelers, with a hood covering the head, as in some of the tenth-century examples. Youngsook Pak has analysed the significance of the Ksitigarbha cult in her inaugural dissertation (1981) for the University of Heidelberg. According to her, numerous Dunhuang manuscripts exist of the extremely short Dicang puse jing 地藏菩薩經,which describes Dicang or Ksitigarbha looking down on those suffering in purgatory, and instructs that those who write out his sutra or recite his name will be reborn in the Western Paradise. Thus Ksitigarbha, no less than Avalokitesvara, can be seen to be closely connected with the cult of Amitābha.
    It should be noted here that the cartouche was accidentally inscribed on the back of the painting, so that the characters appear in reverse and are partially obscured by the opaque colour of the cartouche. The outlines of the figure are, on the other hand, crisp and clear, and comparison with Pl. 45 shows that this is the front of the painting, with the kasāya hanging from the Bodhisattva’s own left shoulder.
    The headpiece of this banner is preserved with it. An ancient repair using large overcast stitches is visible at the height of the canopy about the Bodhisattva’s head. The centre of the headpiece is of a silk dyed with flowers in pink and green. On the reverse the headpiece was lined with plain sage-green silk. The hanging loop inscribed with a character hua 華 and parts of the dark blue side streamers are also preserved separately.上述菩薩不容易被區分,如果不具備足夠的識別特徵,就很難斷定具體是哪一位菩薩。假設寶冠上配有化佛時,他就很容易被認定是觀世音菩薩。只有一個菩薩很容易被識別,身著由很多布片縫成的衲衣,頭部如僧侶般剃髮的像,無疑就是地藏菩薩。
    雖然在印度神話中很難找到地藏菩薩的蹤迹,他在中國卻非常有名,正如一些敦煌幡畫中對他的描寫所證明的(一些來自伯希和收藏,而且斯坦因的收藏中也有顯示),在這裏他表現爲剃著頭作爲旅行者的神,頭上戴著兜帽,就像一些十世紀的例子,朴英淑女士在海德堡大學的博士論文中(1981),分析了地藏菩薩的意義。根據她的分析,很多敦煌手稿中存在簡短的《地藏菩薩經》,它描寫地藏菩薩俯視那些在煉獄中受難的人們,並且指示那些抄寫《地藏菩薩經》、誦讀他的名字的人,將會轉生到西方淨土。這樣,可見地藏菩薩與觀音菩薩一樣,都與阿彌陀信仰緊密結合。
    應該在這裏指出長方形題簽也會偶爾被繪在幡畫的背面,所以文字出現了顛倒,並且因爲題簽不透明而部分變得很不清晰。另一方面畫像的外形是明快而清晰的,與幡45相比較表現出這是畫的正面,有袈裟從菩薩左肩垂下來等圖案的一面是幡的正面。
    幡頭也一起保存下來了,菩薩頭部的華蓋上有舊時的密密的大的針腳的丁,華蓋中心是用花染成粉色或綠色的絹,相反的幡頭是樸素的灰綠色的絹。吊環上記有“華”字,而深蓝色幡尾已經脫落並且單獨保存著。

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Fraser 1996a fig.152 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1982 pl.44 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a pp.1008-1009; vol.IV, pl.LXXXIII bibliographic details
  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1919

  • Acquisition notes

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

  • Department

    Asia

  • Registration number

    1919,0101,0.125

  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.i.003 (Stein no.)
Front
Painted banner with Ksitigarbha standing on a lotus, shown as a monk with a shaven head and wearing a patchwork robe (kasaya). Inscription in cartouche. Ink and colours on silk.

Front Painted banner with Ksitigarbha standing on a lotus, shown as a monk with a shaven head and wearing a patchwork robe (kasaya). Inscription in cartouche. Ink and colours on silk.

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: RFC741

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.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...