- Museum number
Woodblock print with hanging tabs
- Production date
- 947 (year dingwei of the Kaiyun reign)
Height: 40 centimetres (impression)
Width: 26.50 centimetres (impression)
- Curator's comments
This dated print, like that of Avalokiteśvara, was made to mark Cao Yuanzhong's accession to power in the Dunhuang area. The size of the print probably reflects the importance of Vaiśravaṇa, Guardian of the North, in China and Central Asia. China was most at risk from northern invaders, and , Vaiśravaṇa was especially associated with Khotan, for its king had once prayed for and received a son - the naked child held up by a demon - from that deity. Over a dozen copies of this print were found at Dunhuang.
Vaisravana, Guardian King of the North, is shown in sumptuous armour. He holds a standard in his right hand and a stupa in his left. In the background a demon holds a naked child, portraying a Khotanese legend of a child granted by Vaisravana to a childless monarch and suckled by the earth goddess, who is seen below him, supporting his feet. Vaisravana was the patron deity of the kingdom of Khotan, whose royal family had intermarried with the Cao clan, rulers of Dunhuang from AD 924. Cao Yuanzhong, Imperial Commissioner of Dunhuang, is named in the inscription as having commissioned this print. Along the top of the print there are paper loops for hanging it.
Published: Stein 1921, vol. II, 1037; Kikutatke 1975, fig. 2; Whitfield 1982-5, vol.2, fig. 153; Yu 2005, 23, pl. 9; Wu 2005, 27; Wang and Zou 2005, 33; Zhou 2005, 37.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2003 18 Oct-14 Dec, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 17 Jan-28 Mar, Kobe City Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 10 Apr-13 Jun, Fukuoka Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2004 26 Jun-29 Aug, Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum, Treasures of the World's Cultures
2010 May-Sep, BM, Dept of Asia, The Printed Image in China
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: B.14
Miscellaneous number: Ch.xxx.002 (Stein no.)