• Sandstone head and shoulders of Buddha
    • Sandstone head and shoulders of Buddha
    Sandstone head and shoulders of Buddha

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Sandstone head and shoulders of Buddha

    Height: 43.3cm, Width: 31.5cm

    Northern Wei period, mid to late 5th century
     

    This sandstone head and shoulders of Buddha would have been carved on the high wall of one of the Buddhist cave temples at Yungang in north China, where work began in the mid-fifth century. The distinctive long ears, signifying his princely past, and the cranial bump or ushnisha, identify this sculpture as Buddha.

    • Marble stele
    • Marble stele
    • Marble stele
    Marble stele

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Marble stele

    Height: 69.2cm

    Northern Qi period, inscribed with date corresponding to 553
     

    The richly carved white marble stele illustrates a miraculous moment in an important Buddhist text, the Lotus Sutra, in which the Buddha of the past and the Buddha of the present meet. The image of the twin Buddha figures corresponds with the concept of numerous Buddhas existing at the same time in different periods and space.

    • Gilt bronze Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
    • Gilt bronze Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
    • Gilt bronze Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
    Gilt bronze Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Gilt bronze Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

    Height: 30.8cm

    Tang period, inscribed with date corresponding to 651
     

    This gilt-bronze figure represents Avalokiteshvara, also known as Guanyin. According to the inscription on the reverse, it was commissioned by a seventh-century emperor as one of a set of six figures, as thanksgiving for rain and the passing of the plague. 

    • Marble head of a monk
    • Marble head of a monk
    Marble head of a monk

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Marble head of a monk

    Height: 33.5cm

    Liao period, 907 - 1125
     

    Such large and realistic portrait carvings of monks’ heads are rare. This marble sculpture probably represents Buddha’s youngest disciple, Ananda, whose name means ‘Bliss’. Born into the same clan, Ananda was a cousin of Buddha’s who acted as his devoted personal attendant for twenty-five years and was famous for his remarkable powers of recall.

    • Pair of polychrome and gilt wood bodhisattvas
    • Pair of polychrome and gilt wood bodhisattvas
    • Pair of polychrome and gilt wood bodhisattvas
    Pair of polychrome and gilt wood bodhisattvas

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Pair of polychrome and gilt wood bodhisattvas

    Height: 135.5cm and 134.5cm

    Northern Song or Jin period, mid 11th to mid 12th century
     

    These two wood bodhisattvas represent Amitabha Buddha’s attendants, one embodying his wisdom, and the other embodying his compassion. It was believed that the three would have been present to welcome the faithful to the Western Paradise. 

    • Large wood Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
    • Large wood Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
    • Large wood Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)
    Large wood Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Large wood Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

    Height: 175.0cm

    Northern Song or Jin period, mid 11th to mid 12th century
     

    This imposing figure of Avalokiteshvara, also known as Guanyin, is a masterpiece of eleventh to twelfth century Buddhist sculpture, remarkable for its size and richly carved drapery. Guanyin was one of the most widely revered deities in China and was believed to have the ability to save mankind from disasters such as fire, flood, demons and the sword of the executioner, as well as being the bestower of children. The sculpture was carved from paulownia wood, which was particularly valued for its lightness and stability.

     

    • Gilt lacquered bronze figure of a Luohan
    • Gilt lacquered bronze figure of a Luohan
    Gilt lacquered bronze figure of a Luohan

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Gilt lacquered bronze figure of a Luohan

    Height: 80.3cm

    Yuan - early Ming dynasty, 14th - 15th century
     

    This gilt lacquered bronze luohan – an enlightened being and Buddhist disciple - was most likely one of a set of sixteen or eighteen, intended to be placed in a prescribed order on the east and west walls of a Buddhist hall, within a temple complex. His intense expression of meditative concentration would have been intended to serve as an exemplar, to help others on their spiritual journey.

    • Gilt Bronze Seated Luohan
    • Gilt Bronze Seated Luohan
    • Gilt Bronze Seated Luohan
    Gilt Bronze Seated Luohan

    Chinese Sculpture c.500 - 1500

    This exhibition features twenty-two masterpieces of Chinese sculpture in stone, marble, gilt bronze and wood.

    Gilt Bronze Seated Luohan

    Height: 50.8cm

    Ming dynasty, 15th century
     

    The present gilt-bronze luohan represents Pindola, an enlightened being and one of Buddha’s disciples. Pindola was the son of a Brahman priest and it was said that he decided to follow Buddha because he was naturally gluttonous and he was impressed by the food offerings made to Buddha’s disciples. Here he is seen holding a large alms or begging bowl in one hand and a Buddhist sutra in the other.