- Museum number
Painting of Avalokiteśvara seated on a lotus, behind an altar and surrounded by other bodhisattvas. Three male and three female donors. Central male donor is Zhang Geqiao, whose parents are right and left of the central inscription.
- Production date
Height: 91.50 centimetres
Width: 59.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
From Whitfield 1983:
Many features typify this small votive painting as characteristic of late tenth century Buddhist art at Dunhuang. The viewer is at once aware of the bright colouring, in which green and orange tones predominate, and of the prominence of the donors below, all identically apparelled. Both features immediately recall the wall paintings of many of the tenth century caves at Dunhuang, where pale green is often the prevailing tone, and rows of donors, almost life-sized, parade around the walls (e.g., Cave 61; Dunhuang bihua, Pl. 204). In this painting, the men stand on a fringed carpet; the ladies opposite wear elaborate headdresses with hairpins and bright yellow ornaments (intended to be golden). The edges of their sleeves reveal embroidered floral patterns.
Despite the lavish ornamentation, however, the actual execution of the painting reveals the simplified approach due to the comparative isolation of Dunhuang at this time. Little room is left for the eight Bodhisattvas surrounding Avalokitesvara; even the altar cloth, with “Praise to the Bodhisattva Guanyin” written on it, has no lower border, and the last two characters have had to be fitted in as best they may since the writer failed to judge the space correctly.
The dated inscription (Fig. 35), which is presented as though written on a stone tablet, appears to reflect the predominant importance of the donors. Its wishes refer only to the family of the chief donor, Zhang Keqiao, captain of infantry troops. The cyclical year renshen in actual fact corresponds to the fifth year of the Kaibao reign, rather than the fourth as written here: as Waley pointed out, the cyclical date (A. D.972) is likely to be the correct one.
From Whitfield 1983:
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.170
1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.170
1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.170
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
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Ch.00167 (Stein no.)