The Northern Wei reform contributed greatly to an amalgamation of art and culture in sixth-century China. This was manifested in painting, calligraphy, the funerary and decorative arts, and in the style of the cave-temples at Longmen in Henan Province. It was during the Northern Wei dynasty that Buddhism was introduced to China – an introduction which rooted itself firmly in the cultural fabric of China. Over 30,000 Buddhist images dating from the Northern Wei dynasty have been found to date.
Chinese Northern Wei Tile with Enthroned Guanyin
A finely moulded Chinese rectangular grey pottery tile, featuring the Buddhist deity Guanyin, dating from the Northern Wei Dynasty. Rendered in high relief, the figure sits in an ogival arched niche, wearing a rich robe which falls to the front of the throne with cascading drops and folds, the top half painted in red and the bottom in yellow. Her hair is styled into a high bun, painted in black pigment. A tall vesica shaped aureola, painted in green, towers over her head. She is performing the Abhaya mudra with her raised hand, symbolising fearlessness and protection. The other hand is in the Varada mudra symbolising charity, compassion and boon granting. A mudra is a ritualistic pose or gesture which holds a symbolic meaning in Buddhism. Most mudras are performed with hands and fingers but some also involve the whole body. Facial expressions, such as eyes and eyebrows, feature a calm, contemplative expression and are delicately rendered through black paint, while the lips are painted in bright red.
Period: Northern Wei Dynasty
Condition: Fine condition, with bright and vivid pigmentation, some chipping to the sides.
|Dimensions||L 17.7 x W 6.2 x H 36.0 cm|
East Asia (Far East)