Standing bodhisattva

Historical period(s)
Jin dynasty, 12th-13th century
Medium
Paulownia wood with gesso and polychrome
Dimensions
H (overall): 172.7 cm (68 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1974.6
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Sculpture
Type

Figure

Keywords
bodhisattva, Buddhism, China, Jin dynasty (1115 - 1234), WWII-era provenance
Provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Label

This sculpture, with its squarish face, elaborate volute of hair, thickset upper torso, and columnar lower body, is characteristic of Jin dynasty temple statues. It probably belonged to a group of images of deities placed on an altar in a Buddhist temple in either Shanxi or Hebei Province, where the non-Chinese Jurchen rulers of the Jin dynasty (1115-1234) had a strong power base.

Originally, the sculpture was painted--the face and the hands with flesh tones, the clothing and scarves with bright colors. It would have been exhibited from a height to enhance the effect of the bodhisattva’s downcast eyes greeting the upward gaze of a viewer. The solemn, introspective face exemplifies the detached mental state associated with enlightenment. A bodhisattva is a being who has achieved this state and decides to remain in the world to help others attain personal salvation and enlightenment.

Published References
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 12, p. 21.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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