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painting / 繪畫

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Fragmentary painting of standing figure. While the figure has some features typical of bodhisattva images (three-quarter view, hand gesture), this appears to be a Christian saint, possibly Nestorian. He has a halo, wears a cross in his headdress and one on his necklace, and a staff in his left hand. Ink and colours on silk.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 9thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 88 centimetres
    • Width: 55 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This figure is of great interest since although it is depicted in three-quarter view in very much the same way as some of the paintings of Buddhist Bodhisattvas, even to the gesture of the right hand, this appears to a Christian, perhaps a Nestorian, saint (see also Fig.76). A cross, each arm terminating in bead-like extensions, appears both in the headdress of the figure and hanging form the necklace he is wearing. In his left hand he holds a long staff. He wears a red stole with a yellow lining, over a robe which has faded to a greenish colour very similar to that of the background silk.
    Two minor features suggest that this painting dates from the end of the ninth century: the narrow flame border of the halo and the configuration of the mouth, which has a slight downward return to the ends of the ink line between the lips. Further confirmation of a possible Christian identification of the figure appears on close examination of the face, as there is a fairly thick moustache and a slight beard, both in red and quite different from the curling moustaches, generally in green, of Bodhisattvas such as Pl.13.此像如菩薩像中所常見的那樣,為四分之三身像,右手的姿势也很相似,但表現的是基督教,或許是景教的聖者(參見Fig.76)。冠飾和項鏈都有邊緣為水滴狀的十字架。聖者左手持長杖,身披黃色襯裏的紅色披肩,其下著綠色衣服,但已褪色,與背景顔色相近。


  • Bibliography

    • Whitfield & Farrer 1990 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 2004b pl.11 bibliographic details
    • Whitfield 1982 pl.25, fig.76 bibliographic details
    • Stein 1921a pp.1050-1051 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2007 8 Feb-5 Aug, BM Gallery 91, 'Gods, Guardians and Immortals: Chinese Religious Paintings'

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    For full acquisition history, see 1919,0101,0.1.

  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Ch.xlix.001 (Stein no.)


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