• Bodhisattva Guanyin Moon-Water

    Technique:
    painting (roll)
    Dimensions:
    101,5x59,5 cm

Bodhisattva Guanyin Moon-Water

Created: Tangut State of Xi -Xia, Khara-Khoto. early 12th century

Found:

Guanyin, meaning “sound perceiver”, is a Chinese translation of the Sanskrit name of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, one of the most popular members of the Buddhist pantheon in China. The cult of Guanyin was also widely practised in Tibet and in the Tangut state of Xi-Xia that existed in Central Asia in the 10th–13th centuries. The depiction of Guanyin in the hypostasis of Moon-Water is the only work in which the image of the bodhisattva is combined with what is at first sight a genre scene: Tanguts dancing at the edge of a burial pit with horses standing alongside and a tug horsetail banner behind. Stylistically the icon belongs to the Chinese painting tradition of the 11th–12th centuries. The bodhisattva is depicted sitting on a crag with bamboo, a peony bush and a little table with a vase around him. In front of the crag is a pool overgrown with lotuses. Above to the right is Shancai Tongzi, a companion of Guanyin. On a cloud in the lower left-hand corner a man is burning incense accompanied by a boy. The depiction is probably intended to convey the idea of a deceased righteous man being seen off to the Pure Land, a sort of Buddhist paradise, by the bodhisattva while his funeral feast being held on earth. The icon as a whole depicts the Tangut burial rite, which reflected the cultural unity of the peoples of Central Asia. This scroll is one of the masterpieces in the collection of paintings brought from the lost city of Khara-Khoto (now in Gansu province, China) by Piotr Kozlov’s 1908–09 expedition.

Title:

Bodhisattva Guanyin Moon-Water

Material:

Technique:

painting (roll)

Dimensions:

101,5x59,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1933; handed over from the State Russian Museum

Inventory Number:

ХХ-2439

Collection:

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