- Museum number
- Object: Guiding (Yinlu) Bodhisattva (引路菩薩)
Hanging scroll of a bodhisattva leading an elegant lady supported on clouds to the Pure Land, indicated by the Chinese buildings at the top left. He holds a golden censer in his right hand, a white banner in his left. Inscription in cartouche. Ink and colour on silk.
- Production date
- 851-900 (circa; Guiyijun period)
Height: 180 centimetres (Height with hanging attachment)
Height: 174 centimetres (Painting on mount)
Height: 80.50 centimetres
Width: 73.20 centimetres (Painting on mount; with roller)
Width: 68 centimetres (Painting on mount)
Width: 53.80 centimetres
Depth: 3.20 centimetres (Painting on mount; with roller)
- Curator's comments
From Whitfield 1983:
This painting and the one shown in the following plate depict a theme that was clearly popular from the late Tang dynasty until the early Song. Not only these two paintings, But a further four paintings from Dunhuang in the Pelliot collection (Bannieres, Nos. 130-33) share the same composition. An earlier example, from the eighth century, is to be found as a wall painting in Cave 205 at Dunhuang itself (Dunhuang bihua, Pl. 149), but with the smaller figure standing in front of the Bodhisattva rather than behind.
Among the six examples on silk and paper it is the present one that is the most fully worked out, and the only one to bear a title, “Yinlu pu”,or “Bodhi-sattya Guide of Souls”. The general composition is the same in all six paintings, the Bodhisattva to the fore and the much smaller donor figure following behind, both supported on a cloud, which in this case has a long tail streamer descending from the top of the painting. The title, inscribed at the foot of the otherwise blank cartouche, gives no clue as to the more specific identity of the Bodhisattva guide, but Avalokitesvara might be suggested as the general model. However, it should be noted that there is also an association with Ksitigarbha since another painting in the Pelliot collection (Bannieres, No. 116) has the Bodhisattva alone, with a cartouche “Praise to the bodhisattva who leads the way” depicted in a separate panel balancing the donor below an inscribed and dated (A.D. 953) painting of Ksitigarbha and the Ten Kings.
In the present painting the Bodhisattva holds a hand-censer in his right hand and a lotus flower in his left (Pl. 9-2). From this lotus also hangs a white banner, divided into panels and with side and tail streamers, just as with the painted banners of Vol. 1 (Pl. 28ff) and the textile banners of Vol.3. Dark smoke is seen rising from the hand-censer towards the paradise buildings on another cloud in the upper left corner, while a scattering of individual flowers appears around the main figure. On the left side, a few tentative strokes in ink seem to sketch the beginning of a series of receding landscape banks, but the ground is otherwise plain and all the painter’s effort has been directed towards the figures.
The colouring of these is splendid and well preserved. Gold leaf has been used on the hand-censer and on the various items of jewellery worn by the Bodhisattva, as well as for the topmost chignon of his headdress. Gold leaf in small diamond shapes also adorns the raised black mass of hair of the soul being led to paradise (Pl. 9-3). Her coiffure, as has been noted (Fong, 1972, p. 179), resembles that of some of the ladies in the famous scroll by Emperor Huizong, Ladies Ironing Newly-Woven Silk, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Their ornaments are matched in the Dunhuang painting by a comb which appears to be in the form of a white bird with outspread wings, the head of the bird being gilt, perhaps representing a comb made of white jade. From her whole attire, as well as from details such as her fashionable eyebrows, plucked and painted to resemble the antennae of a moth, the lady has the bearing of a noblewoman or even a princess.
From Whitfield 1983:
在包括絹繪和紙繪的六件作品中，該作品是表現菩薩像最完整的一幅，又是有“引路菩（薩）”這一題記的唯一作品。六件的繪畫結構基本相同，前面描繪巨大的菩薩，其後跟隨死者小型的靈魂，兩者均乘於雲上。在本圖中，從畫面上方垂下一條長長的帶子，直至雲端。長方形題箋的下方除了記有小的標題外，無其他證明該菩薩爲引路菩薩的更明確的根據，不過此菩薩可能是觀音菩薩。無論如何，應該注意到該菩薩像還與地藏菩薩有關係，因爲在伯希和收藏品（伯希和《敦煌的幡和繪畫》，圖版116）中有一個單獨的菩薩像，添加了“南無引路菩薩” 的長方形題箋在下端供養人欄左側，有紀年（953年）的《地藏十王圖》（伯希和《敦煌的幡和繪畫》，圖版116）的下端供養人欄左側，描繪有一身菩薩，添加了記有 “南無引路菩薩” 的長方形題箋，可能和地藏菩薩信仰有關。
The inscribed title, ‘yinlu pu’ (Bodhisattva Guide of Souls), does not identify the Bodhisattva, but Avalokiteśvara might be a general model. There is, however, an association with Kṣitigarbha since another painting, dated 953 in the Musée Guimet, shows the Bodhisattva alone, with a cartouche 'praise to the Bodhisattva who leads the way' in a separate panel balancing the donor. This Bodhisattva holds a censer and a lotus; gold leaf has been used on the censer, the Bodhisattva's jewellery and, in small diamond shapes, it adorns the hair of the soul being led to paradise. From her attire the lady seems a noblewoman or princess.
The Getty's curatorial team suggests the title as Guiding (Yinlu) Bodhisattva
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
5 October – 29 December 2013, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The Making of Chinese Masterpieces: Chinese Painting from the 8th to 19th Centuries
2016 7 May-4 Sep, Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China's Silk Road
- Condition-sensitive object. Handling restricted.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ch.lvii.002 (Stein no.)