Bodhisattva with a glass bowl, ink and colours on a silk banner


British Museum

British Museum

This is one of the most beautifully executed banners from Mogao in the British Museum. The well-balanced figure of the bodhisattva is supported by a lotus flower, depicted in fine detail. The figure's scarves and thick, black hair fall beautifully following the curves of the body. The glass bowl and some of the scarves are shown as transparent with a light wash of paint, all the details behind it visible.The body is outlined in an even black line, with a light red paint wash used to indicate the inside of the palms and earlobes, folds of the neck and to pick out the eyes.The glass bowl resembles actual examples from Iran. We know that Sasanian glass was very popular during the Tang dynasty (AD 618-906) in Buddhist temples such as the famous Famensi temple near Xi'an at one end of the Silk Road.

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  • Title: Bodhisattva with a glass bowl, ink and colours on a silk banner
  • Date Created: 851/900
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 81.50cm; Width: 26.30cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: painted
  • Subject: bodhisattva; canopy; lotus; vessel
  • Registration number: 1919,0101,0.139
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Qian Fo Dong. Excavated/Findspot
  • Period/culture: Tang dynasty
  • Material: silk
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Collected by Stein, Marc Aurel


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