Historical Buddha

Historical period(s)
Sui dynasty or early Tang dynasty, late 6th-early 7th century
Medium
Hemp cloth, lacquer, wood, metal wire, and glass with traces of pigment and gilding
Dimensions
H x W x D: 99.5 x 72.5 x 56.7 cm (39 3/16 x 28 9/16 x 22 5/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1944.46
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Lacquer, Sculpture
Type

Buddhist sculpture

Keywords
Buddhism, China, Gautama Buddha, Sui dynasty (581 - 618), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

To 1944
Ellis Monroe, New York. [1]

From 1944
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Ellis Monroe, New York. [2]

Notes:

[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record. Also see correspondences between Jan W.A. Kleijkamp, Ellis Monroe, and A.G. Wenley in the object file, Collections Management Office. In a letter dated June 3, 1944 written by Jan W.A. Kleijkamp to the director, A.G. Wenley states: ““The Pitcairn collection” was, as you know, a joint venture of Mr. Monroe and myself. As Mr. Monroe is handling the finances in regard to our venture, he will send a bill”…, copy of letter in the object file.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s)

Ellis Monroe

Label

The aloof grace and lean proportions of this image of the historical Buddha are typical of sixth-century Chinese sculpture. The naturalistic drapery and hints of anatomical modeling, however, suggest a date closer to the seventh century. Layers of lacquer-impregnated fabric were draped over a clay core and covered with a lacquer-based paste that was modeled to create the details. After the lacquer dried, the clay core was removed, leaving a lightweight, durable shell that was painted and embellished with gold. This technique of work is called "dry lacquer."

Published References
  • Chugoku bijutsu [Chinese Art in Western Collections]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1973. vol. 3: pl. 76.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 83, vol. 1: p. 173.
  • Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 7.
  • Alexander Coburn Soper. Literary Evidence for Early Buddhist Art in China. vol. 9 Washington and Zurich. pp. 19-21.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 43.
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 44-45.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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