University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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Object Number:C145
Current Location: China & Japan Gallery
Currently On Display
Provenience: China
Period: Wei Dynasty
Date Made: 525
Early Date: 525
Late Date: 525
Inscription Language:Chinese Language
Credit Line:Purchased from C. T. Loo, 1916


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.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968) View Objects in Exhibition
Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966) View Objects in Exhibition


[Article] Wong, Dorothy C. 2001. "Maitreya Buddha Statues at the University of Pennsylvania Museum". Orientations. 32 (2): 24-31.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Smith, Bradley. 1973. China: A History in Art. 296 p. illus. 33 cm.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[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)View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Thesis] Wegner, Max. 1930. Ikonographie des chinesischen Maitreya.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] De Morant, George S. 1928. Histoire de l'art chinois, de l'antiquite jusqu'a nos jours.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[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.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Munsterberg, Oskar. 1924. Chinesische Kunstgeschichte. Volume 1.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Bushell, Stephen W. Chinese Art.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Ashton, Leigh. 1924. An Introduction to the Study of Chinese Sculpture.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Bishop, Carl W. 1916. Two Early Chinese Buddhist Sculptures. The Museum Journal. Volume VII (No. 4): 245-262.View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Book] Chavannes, Edouard. 1909. Mission Archeologique dans la Chine Septentrionale.View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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