- Museum number
- Object: Vairochana with the Eight Great Bodhisattvas
Painting showing Vairochana (previously identified as Amitabha) with the Eight Great Bodhisattvas (left-hand column: Maitreya, Kshitigarbha, Manjushri, and Akashagarbha; right-hand column: Avalokiteshvara, Sarvanivaranaviskambhin, Samantabhadra, and Vajrapani). Names inscribed in Tibetan, two are badly faded. Geese stand on golden sand in the lower part of the painting, and a very small donor figure is on the bottom right. Ink and colour on silk.
- Production date
- early 9thC (Dunhuang Tibetan period (786-848))
Height: 95 centimetres
Width: 63.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
From Whitfield 1982:
Although originally identified by Waley as Avalokitesvara, it seems more likely that the crowned central figure in dhyana-mudra is in fact his spiritual parent, Amitabha. There are clear references to the paradise of Amitabha in the geese standing on piles of golden sand in the lower part of the painting. Four of the Bodhisattvas, the two in the middle of either side, are labelled in Tibetan: they are Sarvanivaranaviskambhin and Samantabhadra on the right; Ksitigarbha and Manjusri on the left (Fig.47).Those above and below them should be Avalokitesvara (with a lotus )and Vajrasattva on the right; Maitreya and Akasagarbha on the left (Fig.48).
The figure of a female donor, very small, appears at the bottom (Fig.49), divided from the main area, as in other paintings of early date, by a band of lozenges. Blue was originally important in the colour scheme forming the patterned background, but it has now faded. (The same blue pattern is found in a banner on hemp cloth, Vol.2, Pl.40, and may be compared also to the printed frontispiece to the Diamond Sutra, dated A.D.868 [Vol.2, Figs.144-45].) In style the painting is very close to Pl.16 especially to the two Bodhisattvas in Tibetan style in that painting (Pl.16-2). This would seem to justify a date early in the ninth century.
From Whitfield 1982:
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ch.0074 (Stein no.)