Symbolic Offerings

18th century

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art

STYLE: This embroidered satin banner has peaceful and wrathful symbolic offerings presented against an almost uniform blue background. A vague sense of depth is created by the jewel garland held by skulls along the top edge, the gradation toward a darker blue at the bottom, and the small blue-green rock at the right edge. The offerings are evenly and symmetrically spaced, with peaceful offerings on top and wrathful ones at the bottom, except for the flying black raven with intestines in his beak, which breaks up this symmetry. The warrior holding a shield with a wrathful face is a distinctively East Asian motif.

CONTENT: The center of this embroidery is taken up by a group of symbols known as the “Seven Jewels of a King.” This group consists of the triple jewel, which sits in the top center position and represents the Buddha, his teachings, and the monastic community he founded, as well as the wheel, queen, elephant, minister, general, and horse. Between them are seven weapons, including a dagger paired with a bow and arrows as well as a suit of armor. These thematically lead to the wrathful offerings in the lower portion of the work, which consist of seven different animals, among them a white Bactrian camel and a black snow lion. The skull cup between them contains an offering of the five senses.

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  • Title: Symbolic Offerings
  • Date: 18th century (Qing Dynasty)
  • Date Created: 18th century
  • Physical Dimensions: 34 1/2 x 22 3/8 in.
  • Type: Textile
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2004.18.2
  • Medium: Embroidered Satin
  • Place of Creation: Mongolia/China
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (02/06/13 - 01/13/14)


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