Gathering of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas

Historical period(s)
Northern Qi dynasty, 550-577
Limestone with traces of pigment
H x W: 120.8 x 340 cm (47 9/16 x 133 7/8 in)
China, Hebei province, Fengfeng, southern Xiangtangshan, Cave 2
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 17: Promise of Paradise: Ancient Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Sculpture, Stone


bodhisattva, Buddha, Buddhism, cave, China, halo, lotus, Northern Qi dynasty (550 - 577), relief, temple
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Lai-Yuan and Company


The jeweled trees and lush scenery suggest a gathering of Buddhas, bodhisattvas (enlightened beings), and blessed souls, perhaps in one of the four directional Buddhist paradises. Traces of color on the stone hint at the brilliance of the mural, which was originally painted with gold and bright colors.The relief-sculpture mural most likely once decorated a stupa-pillar, or large square shaft, attached to the center of the rear wall of one of the caves at Southern Xiangtangshan, a court-sponsored Buddhist cave-temple created during the Northern Qi dynasty. Several scholars suggest that the mural came from Cave 2 at Southern Xiangtangshan. A related object in the Freer's collection is F1921.2.

Published References
  • Artibus Asiae. vol. 23, no. 2. 2012, vol. LXXII, no. 1, fig. 13.
  • Art Gallery of New South Wales. Silk Road Saga: The Sarcophagus of Yu Hong. p. 18.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 38.
  • Sonya S. Lee. Surviving Nirvana: Death of the Buddha in Chinese Visual Culture. Hong Kong. pp. 62-63, fig. 1.26.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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