Barakat Gallery
Login | Register | User Services | Search | Newsletter Sign-up
Barakat Gallery
HOME : Chinese Art : Miscellaneous : Ming Schist Bust of a Bodhisattva
Ming Schist Bust of a Bodhisattva - PF.5335
Origin: China
Circa: 1368 AD to 1644 AD
Dimensions: 19" (48.3cm) high x 14.5" (36.8cm) wide
Collection: Chinese
Medium: Schist

Location: United States
Currency Converter
Place On Hold
Ask a Question
Email to a Friend
Previous Item
Next Item
Upon leading a victorious rebellion against the foreign Mongul rulers of the Yuan Dynasty, a peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang seized control of China and founded the Ming Dynasty in 1368. As emperor, he founded his capital at Nanjing and adopted the name Hongwu as his reign title. Hongwu, literally meaning “vast military,” reflects the increased prestige of the army during the Ming Dynasty. Due to the very realistic threat still posed by the Mongols, Hongwu realized that a strong military was essential to Chinese prosperity. Thus, the orthodox Confucian view that the military was an inferior class to be ruled over by an elite class of scholars was reconsidered. During the Ming Dynasty, China proper was reunited after centuries of foreign incursion and occupation. Ming troops controlled Manchuria, and the Korean Joseon Dynasty respected the authority of the Ming rulers, at least nominally.

Like the founders of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.- 220 A.D.), Hongwu was extremely suspicious of the educated courtiers that advised him and, fearful that they might attempt to overthrow him, he successfully consolidated control of all aspect of government. The strict authoritarian control Hongwu wielded over the affairs of the country was due in part to the centralized system of government he inherited from the Monguls and largely kept intact. However, Hongwu replaced the Mongul bureaucrats who had ruled the country for nearly a century with native Chinese administrators. He also reinstituted the Confucian examination system that tested would-be civic officials on their knowledge of literature and philosophy. Unlike the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.), which received most of its taxes from mercantile commerce, the Ming economy was based primarily on agriculture, reflecting both the peasant roots of its founder as well as the Confucian belief that trade was ignoble and parasitic.

Culturally, the greatest innovation of the Ming Dynasty was the introduction of the novel. Developed from the folk tales of traditional storytellers, these works were transcribed in the everyday vernacular language of the people. Advances in printmaking and the increasing population of urban dwellers largely contributed to the success of these books. Architecturally, the most famous monument of the Ming Dynasty is surely the complex of temples and palaces known as the Forbidden City that was constructed in Beijing after the third ruler of the Ming Dynasty, Emperor Yongle, moved the capital there. Today, the Forbidded Palace remains one of the hallmarks of traditional Chinese architecture and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the vast nation.

During the spread of Buddhism from India to China, many holy sites were constructed in natural caves found throughout the continent. Images of the Buddha, as well as numerous associated disciples, saints, and guardians, were carved from stone in situ. This large fragment of a Bodhisattva frontally carved from a panel may have belonged to a group of Buddhist deities and celestial beings. An enlightened being that defers ultimate paradise to save others, the Bodhisattva is a companion and assistant of the Buddha who may appear in a group, but also has the stature to be represented alone as it often is in popular tutelary form. This particular Bodhisattva is sculpted with realistic and well-defined human features. An inviting feeling of warmth generates from his smile that clearly indicates his humanly attributes and unconditional love. Modeled with a small face, flattened nose, and downward slanting eyes, the figure also exhibits a princely quality which is evidenced in his ornate attire: a long beaded necklace with lotus clasps, wide plate choker, voluminous robe, and headdress consisting of hanging side spangles, floral designed crown with a band of tassels, and head straps. The graceful contours of his five lotus petal nimbus is nicely echoed in the modeling of his hairline. In addition to being a sacred religious icon, this work is a wonderful portrayal of the Bodhisattva’s nature. - (PF.5335)


Home About Us Help Contact Us Services Publications Search
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy Security

Copyright (c) 2000-2022 by Barakat, Inc. All Rights Reserved - TEL 310.859.8408 - FAX 310.276.1346

coldfusion hosting