Probably Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

The Bodhisattva stands with its body arched in a slight curve. The pointed headdress that appears in the high chignon is not specific enough to identify the particular Bodhisattva being represented. The torso is clothed in scarves and necklaces; a pleated dhoti falls from the waist. The Bodhisattva’s right hand holds one end of a scarf against the dhoti; the left arm is raised at the elbow and the fingers of the hand are gracefully curved. There are traces of paint and pigment traces on the surface of the stone. The sculpture has been broken and subsequently repaired.

Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty, 618-907
Medium
Limestone with traces of pigment
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 49.3 x 35.5 x 9 cm (19 7/16 x 14 x 3 9/16 in)
Geography
China, Henan province, Luoyang, Probably Longmen Grottos
Credit Line
Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1974.4a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Sculpture, Stone
Type

Figure

Keywords
bodhisattva, Buddhism, China, Guanyin, Tang dynasty (618 - 907), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

Probably originally located in the southern part of Xishan, Longmen caves, Luoyang, Henan province [1]

To 1970
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, NY [2]

From 1970 to 1974
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, New York

From 1974
Freer Gallery of Art, bequeathed by Agnes E. Meyer [3]

Notes:

[1] Chang Qing, "Search and Research: The Provenance of Longmen Images in the Freer Collection," Orientations 34, 5 (May 2003), pp. 18, 19, fig. 4.

[2] The object was part of the Estate of Agnes E. Meyer.

[3] The object was transferred to the Freer Gallery on January 9, 1973. In 1974 it was confirmed that the transfer of this object to the Freer Gallery from the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation had been approved by the foundation’s Board of Directors on December 14, 1972 and the object was accessioned to the collection.

Previous Owner(s)

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer (1875-1959) and (1887-1970)

Description

The Bodhisattva stands with its body arched in a slight curve. The pointed headdress that appears in the high chignon is not specific enough to identify the particular Bodhisattva being represented. The torso is clothed in scarves and necklaces; a pleated dhoti falls from the waist. The Bodhisattva's right hand holds one end of a scarf against the dhoti; the left arm is raised at the elbow and the fingers of the hand are gracefully curved. There are traces of paint and pigment traces on the surface of the stone. The sculpture has been broken and subsequently repaired.

Label

This high-relief figure of a bodhisattva with slightly arched body can be envisioned as an attendant figure to a Buddha sculpture. Based on style, it seems that the figure probably came from the Longmen Grottoes, perhaps from a small cave in the southern part of Xishan. The Longmen Buddhist cave-temple complex, near Luoyang, Henan Province, was begun in 493 and received imperial patronage for almost four hundred years, during which time it was transformed into a richly endowed complex with over 2,300 caves and niches in cliff walls adorned with sculptures. In the early twentieth century many sculptures and fragments were removed from Longmen and entered the international antiquities market without identification.

The pointed headdress that appears in this figure's high chignon is not specific enough to identify the particular Bodhisattva being represented. The torso is clothed in scarves and necklaces; a pleated dhoti falls from the waist. The Bodhisattva's right hand holds one end of a scarf and the left arm is raised at the elbow and the fingers of the hand are gracefully curved. The sculpture has been broken and subsequently repaired.

Published References
  • Chang Qing. Search and Research: The Provenance of Longmen Images in the Freer Collection. vol. 34, no. 5 Hong Kong, May 2003. pp. 16-25, fig. 4.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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