Seated figure of Bodhisattva with Sino-Tibetan style: double lotus pedestal on rectangular base

Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, 13th-14th century
Medium
marble, traces of pigment
Dimensions
H x W x D: 55.8 x 38.7 x 19.8 cm (21 15/16 x 15 1/4 x 7 13/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
F1913.26
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Sculpture, Stone
Type

Figure

Keywords
bodhisattva, Buddhism, China, mudra, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Provenance

To 1913
Yamanaka & Company, New York to 1913 [1]

From 1913 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company, New York in 1913 [2]

From 1920
The Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] Undated folder sheet note. See S.I. 403, Original Miscellaneous List, p. 127.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

Several dates have been proposed for this sculpture since its acquisition in 1913 by Charles Lang Freer, who unrealistically believed it dated to the Song dynasty (960-1279). The work mixes Chinese and Tibetan features, such as the Tibetan-style pointed crown with upswept ribbons. Because of this stylistic blend of features, the eminent sinologist Osvald Siren redated the sculpture in 1962 to the eighteenth century, when a number of imperial temples in China were dedicated to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

In fact, the sculpture's combination of Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist imagery marks an earlier period of interaction, in the fourteenth century, between these two cultures. Several securely dated comparisons for this image exist, including Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) stone sculptures carved into a cliff at Feilaifeng, in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou. The full face, headdress, and jewelry of the Freer's sculpture also compare closely with Yuan dynasty portable images, some of which were excavated in Inner Mongolia. The distinctive body-shaped halo seen here has holes drilled into it that once held a metal framework, which probably created an impression of flaming light.

Published References
  • Jan Stuart Chang Qing. Chinese Buddhist Sculpture in a New Light at the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 32, no. 4 Hong Kong, April 2002. p. 36, fig. 10.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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