Northern Wei Marble Sculpture of a Bodhisattva

SKU LO.1310 (AM)
Circa

386 AD to 534 AD

Dimensions

11.5″ (29.2cm) high

Medium

Marble

Origin

China

Gallery Location

UK


 

The size of this piece suggests that it may have functioned in a domestic setting as an aid to devotional reflection. Although there is no remaining trace of colour, it was probably polychromed and gilded in its original state. At this early date bodhisattvas tended not to be venerated in isolation from images of the Buddha, so it is not inconceivable that this piece was once part of a group of free-standing sculptures. The choice of material is also worthy of mention: marble is uncommon, as the majority of Buddhist art that survives from this period is carved from limestone. The small, intimate scale of this piece and the delicacy of the carving make it a truly desirable object.

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