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Votive Stela

Object Number:
C404
Current Location:
China Gallery
Culture:
Chinese
Buddhist
Provenience:
China
Henan
Period:
Northern Qi Dynasty
Date Made:
551 AD
Early Date:
551
Late Date:
551
Section:
Asian
Materials:
Stone
Technique:
Carved
Low relief
High Relief
Iconography:
Buddha
Monks
Bodhisattvas
Manjusri
Vimalakirti
Life of the Buddha
Dragons
Dancers
Musicians
Lotus
Lions
Description:
Votive stela. Carved block of grey limestone with a brownish patina. Recess in front contains figures in high relief; sides are carved with scenes in very low relief; the top is curved and supports the arched bodies of three double-headed dragons; the back is inscribed. The original inscription was probably erased to make room for the one now there which tells of the restoration of the Stela in 1561 CE; this is followed by the names of distinguished personages; then there is a history of the stela in which it is stated that the original monument was dated in the 2nd year Tienbao of the Great Qi (551 CE). In the central scene of this stela, the Buddha is surrounded by an assembly of monks, bodhisattvas, and priests. Above this, two figures sit debating the Buddhist truths. Vimalakirti, a Chinese scholar, philosopher, and Confucian gentleman, is on the right holding a fan and Manjusri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, is on the left The scene is from Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra which introduced the concept that enlightenment could be attained by laymen and not only be ascetic monks, thus promoting Buddhism among the Chinese intellectual elite.
Height:
99cm
Width:
51cm
Thickness:
28cm
Credit Line:
Purchased from C. T. Loo

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968)
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Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)
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Bibliography:

[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. 36 Fig. 29
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[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1927. A Note on the Chinese Stela of 551 A.D. The Museum Journal. Volume XVIII (No. 1) : Page/Fig./Plate: 111-114
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[Article] Fernald, H. E. 1926. Ancient Chinese Musical Instruments. The Museum Journal. Volume XVII (No. 4): 325-371. : Page/Fig./Plate: 325-371
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[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 233, 234
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[Book] Ashton, Leigh. 1924. An Introduction to the Study of Chinese Sculpture. : Page/Fig./Plate: 64, pl. 26
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[Article] Gordon, G. B. 1923. A Fine Chinese Stela in the Museum. The Museum Journal. Volume XIV (No. 1) : Page/Fig./Plate: 27-33
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