painting / banner / 繪畫 / 幡
Banner painted with Vajrapāṇi (thunderbolt bearer) standing on lotuses, holding a vajra. Striking musculature modelled in pink. Ink and colours on silk.
- 851-900 (circa)
- Excavated/Findspot: Qian Fo Dong, Ch.xxiv.002 (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: 79.5 centimetres
- Width: 25.5 centimetres
By its similar size and in features such as the ink outlines and colouring, this banner has to be seen as a match to the Bodhisattva with a glass bowl of Stein 139 (Pl. 56), and so provides a valuable point of reference between the two subjects. It is, however, unlikely to be from the same set, as the two paintings have different borders and are painted on silk of a slightly different weave.
The painting has been the subject of an excellent article by Toshio Nagahiro (1964), who drew attention to the identical pose with flexed muscles, firmly planted heel and clenched toes, seen in a rubbing from the Qianxiang an 千祥庵 at Luoyang dated A.D. 700, and another Vajrapāni figure partially preserved at the Dayan ta (Great Gander Pagoda)大雁塔 in Xi’an, and of similar date. Both of these examples used continuous line contours, sensitively modelling the articulation of figural motifs such as the face or the knee. In this and similar paintings, on the other hand, short disconnected lines with considerable variation in width are used, attaining an exaggerated effect without bothering about the underlying forms. There can be no doubt about the popularity of the stance for such Vajrapāni. There are two fine sets of four, probably dating from the tenth century and executed in ink alone, in the British Museum and British Library (Vol.2, Figs. 93, 94). The same pose can be seen in the famous woodcut frontispiece to the Diamond Sutra dated A.D.868 (Vol.2,Fig. 144). Four grey silk damask streamers, now separately preserved, originally brought the total length of the banner to just over 2 metres.Rawson 1992:
Banner paintings from Dunhuang representing single Buddhist divinities are composed of triangular headpieces from which two streamers hang, the central rectangular portion usually bearing a single image soemtimes reproduced by stencil. Below this hang additional streamers. This painting is the central part of a banner whose triangular headpiece above and four grey silk streamers would have brought the original length of the banner to just over 2 metres. Banners such as this were carried in processions and hung from buildings.
The short, highly inflected brush-strokes are reminiscent of the brushwork said to have been associated with the famous eight-century painter Wu Daozi; they contrast markedly with the thin flowing lines of Buddha and Bodhisattva figures elsewhere. The same network of modelling in pink is found on paintings of attendant and demonic figures at Dunhuang from this period.從墨線和色彩到尺寸和絹的顔色來看，該幡可能與圖56手持琉璃瓶的菩薩像極爲相配，兩者存在密切的關係。不過二者可能並非屬於一組圖像，因爲它們有不同的邊幅，所用絹布的織法也不同。
2005 25 Jul-8 Oct, Busan Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'
30 May 2004
Prepare for digital photography. Clean and humidify as necessary and if possible. Secure those which are fragmentary and splitting. Improve storage mounts - melinex sleeves or pressure mounts
The streamers were humidified and adhesive supported on dyed silk crepeline using Lascaux 360/498 1:2 for the grey silk, and Klucel G on silk crepeline for orange silk rememnants on the stick. The stick was supported by stitching it onto card and melinex using silk thread.
For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Ch.xxiv.002 (Stein no.)
Front Banner painted with Vajrapani (thunderbolt bearer) standing on lotuses, holding a vajra. Striking musculature modelled in pink. An excellent example of the use of calligraphic brush line to express force. Ink and colours on silk.
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Object reference number: RFC749
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