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Water and Moon Kuan-yin Bodhisattva

Unknown1227

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

China Modern Contemporary Art Document

Water and Moon Kuan-yin Bodhisattva was invented by Zhou Fang, a court painter of Mid-Tang Dynasty. The Kuan-yins painted by Zhou were often in a gesture of contemplating the moon in the water, thus the name. Such an arrangement of elements are highly demanding of painting skills, for example, excellent expression of both figures and landscapes, great handling of the relationship between figures and the background. But it is obvious that this invention became quite popular, as there are more than 20 images of Water and Moon Kuan-yin Bodhisattva in Dunhuang Grottos alone. Two of them are in Cave 2 of Yulin Grottos. Painted in the West Xia Dynasty, this image of Water and Moon Kuan-yin Bodhisattva is one of the best among murals of the same period, and the most exquisite among the over 20 ones in Dunhuang Grottos. Leaning against hill rocks behind which there grows tall bamboos, the Bodhisattva, bathed in a glimmering halo, is contemplating the lotus flowers in the gurgling water. Such an image creates a serene atmosphere. But the picture based on Journey to the West in the lower right corner adds a little vitality to the entire painting. The two characters in this corner seem to be Tang Monk and Monkey King which are two characters enjoying huge popularity.

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  • Title: Water and Moon Kuan-yin Bodhisattva
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1227
  • Provenance: Cave 2 of Yulin Grottos, Gansu Province
  • Original Source: Cave 2 of Yulin Grottos, Gansu Province 甘肅榆林窟第2窟西壁北側
  • Physical format: mural
  • Medium: mural
  • Dynastic period: Western Xia Dynasty
  • Artist's birth and death date: 1038-1227

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