Standing Images of the Buddha and Bodhisattva


China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document
Beijing, China

What would come into your mind when you looking up to the Buddha and Bodhisattva who are looking down at you? It must be the insignificance of yourself and the grandeur of the Buddha. It’s easy for you to become a pious believer in such an atmosphere, feeling the pity and solicitation.

Located in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Kizil Grottos were created when Kizil served as an important fort along the Silk Road. It belonged to Qiuci, an ancient state worshipping art and the Buddhism, which had a lukewarm relationship with the regime of the Central Plain. That’s why the art in the Kizil Grottos looks both familiar and strange to us. The same Buddha and Bodhisattva, even the same stories, were expressed in different ways here. For example, the arched ceiling and the fan-shaped splitting line in cave 123 are what you cannot find in grottos of the Central Plain. The half-naked Bodhisattva with moustache in an S-shaped posture reveals more links with the art of the Central Asia rather than that of the Central Plain, although we might have seen such images in cultural sites of central China. However, the Buddhist belief is the shared message conveyed by grottos in both the two regions.

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  • Title: Standing Images of the Buddha and Bodhisattva
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 700
  • Provenance: Cave 123 of Kizil Grottos, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  • Medium: mural
  • Dynastic period: 450-700