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Seated Bodhisattva

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese

Made in China, Asia

Early 8th century or later

Gilded bronze with traces of painted decoration

Height (with base): 9 inches (22.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with Museum Funds, 1928

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    By the first century A.D. Buddhism had been brought from India to China, where it became a major source of artistic inspiration, its complex pantheon of Buddhas, guardian deities, and enlightened saintlike beings, or bodhisattvas, providing a rich choice of subjects. In representing this bodhisattva, the artist has followed the traditional iconography as set down in the pattern books used by generations of Buddhist sculptors. The deity is seated in a posture of ease, with his hands in a gesture that signifies reassurance or tranquillity. The youthful face, rounded shoulders, slim torso, elaborate jewelry, and flowing robes, all executed with a crisp definition of line, are examples of the sophisticated modeling attained in the best sculpture and painting of eighth-century China. A masterpiece of bronze casting, this small statue displays particularly fine work in the intricate details of the crown, necklace, ribbons, and hair. The high topknot and undulating waves of hair show traces of a blue pigment (ultramarine), and the eyebrows, eyes, and lips may also have been painted. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 26.