Square stone pedestal of grey limestone, originally supporting a statue of Maitreya. Above the square pedestal base is an inverted lotus with a deep slot for mounting the statue. The front and two sides of the base are carved with scenes in low relief. The front scene shows an incense burner or reliquary, reminiscent in form of the pre-Buddhist mountain-shaped "bo shan lu" incense burner, supported by the upper body of a humanoid figure and flanked by lions. The scenes on the left and right sides depict a female and male donor respectively, likely a husband and wife, each surrounded by their attendants and making offerings of the same kind of incense burners or reliquaries depicted on the front. The male donor is shown as having arrived by a horse, which stands by with a groom, and the female by an ox-drawn wagon. Spaces in the scenes are filled with lotus, narcissus and phoenix ornament. The rear of the pedestal bears an inscription, dated to the equivalent of April 27, 525 CE, which identifies the donor of the pedestal as Cao Wangxi, a county prefect and military commander under the Northern Wei dynasty. The inscription states that the statue that would originally have been above the pedestal was an image of the Incarnation of Maitreya, the eagerly-awaited future Buddha whose arrival would bring salvation to the donor's family, ancestors, countrymen and all creatures in a suffering world.
Purchased from C. T. Loo, 1916
Current & Past Exhibitions:
Chinese Rotunda (1968)
Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)
[Article] Wong, Dorothy C. 2001. "Maitreya Buddha Statues at the University of Pennsylvania Museum". Orientations. 32 (2): 24-31. : Page/Fig./Plate: 30
[Book] Smith, Bradley. 1973. China: A History in Art. 296 p. illus. 33 cm. : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 110
[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1941. The Chinese Collections of The University Museum: A Handbook of the Principal Objects. The University Museum Bulletin. 9 (2-3) : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 25, Fig. 20
[Thesis] Wegner, Max. 1930. Ikonographie des chinesischen Maitreya. : Page/Fig./Plate: 216-229.
[Book] De Morant, George S. 1928. Histoire de l'art chinois, de l'antiquite jusqu'a nos jours. : Page/Fig./Plate: pl. 10A.
[Book] Siren, Osvald. 1925. Chinese sculpture from the fifth to the fourteenth century; over 900 specimens in stone, bronze, lacquer and wood, principally from northern China. : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate 150-151
[Book] Munsterberg, Oskar. 1924. Chinesische Kunstgeschichte. Volume 1. : Page/Fig./Plate: 141, abb. 102.
[Book] Bushell, Stephen W. Chinese Art. : Page/Fig./Plate: 36, fig. 22.
[Book] Ashton, Leigh. 1924. An Introduction to the Study of Chinese Sculpture. : Page/Fig./Plate: pl. 54.
[Article] Bishop, Charles W. 1916. Two Early Chinese Buddhist Sculptures. The Museum Journal. Volume VII (No. 4): 245-262. : Page/Fig./Plate: 245-262, figs. 194-197.
[Book] Chavannes, Edouard. 1909. Mission Archeologique dans la Chine Septentrionale. : Page/Fig./Plate: 594, fig. 433.
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