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0031 The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1
The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1 / Page 31 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000188
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may be formed from the fact that the surviving right side portion (Ch. xxxvii. 003, Pl. iv) in its broken state still measures six and a half feet in height with a width of about three and a half feet, while the dimensions of the badly broken left side are even larger. The shape of the picture suggests that it was originally intended to occupy the back of a vaulted chapel recess or of the aisle of an antechapel.

The right portion reproduced in Plate iv (scale one-fourth of original) shows us Manjusri, mounted on his white lion, advancing towards the centre, surrounded by a host of attendant Bodhisattvas, Lokapâlas, demons, and nymphs. His mount is led by an Indian attendant and preceded by a pair of musicians. The whole procession is carried on a purple cloud.

The figure of Manjusri is seated in the same attitude as that of Samantabhadra in Plate III, with one leg pendent, but with his right hand held out palm uppermost. The features of his pale-complexioned face with its peaceful expression are very delicately rendered. But the Indian model from which they are derived is reflected still more clearly in the richly draped garments of the Bodhisattva and the forms of his abundant jewelled ornaments. They are plainly borrowed in all details from Graeco-Buddhist art transplanted into Central Asia. The elaborate halo of Manjusri deserves mention for its harmonious colouring and flame border.

By the side' of the attendant Bodhisattvas, all showing peaceful features, we note Lokapâlas with their demon followers. Of the former Virûdhaka, Guardian-king of the South, is recognizable by his club. The demons are characterized by grotesque features and colouring of deep red. The attendant divinity seen walking in the lower right corner awaits identification. He wears the dress of a Chinese dignitary (high-waisted flowery under-robe and wide-sleeved jacket), while coiffure and nimbus are those of a Bodhisattva. He carries a fan and is attended by two nymphs ; of the one on the right only the head survives in the extant fragment. The leader of the lion has a skin of chocolate-brown colour and coarse features, suggesting a negro type.

Of the figures of the musicians walking in front but little is preserved on the right side of the picture. But the corresponding pair on the left side, which Plate v reproduces on a scale of approximately one-half of the original, has suffered less damage and allows us to enjoy both the spirited design and the great delicacy of drawing in these figures. They march with uplifted heads, playing on whistle-pipe and mouth-organ. In the face of the flute-player on the left delighted absorption in the music is admirably expressed, while the curving lines of the body and the floating loose garments convey a sense of rhythmic motion in complete harmony with the subject. Equally expressive is the drawing in the face of the musician to the right, with its look of intent concentration. The larger scale of reproduction allows us to see here the method of shading used by the painter in the treatment of the flesh. The delicate colouring of the faces is well set off by the stronger but harmoniously blended tints of the large globe-shaped tassel which appears between them, hanging from the harness of Samantabhadra's elephant. In the same way the strong black of their hair and the dark brown of the Mahout's figure, partially seen on the left edge of Plate v, help to give strength to the colour scheme, in which light greens and reds prevail.



HERE we see the left-hand bottom portion of a Paradise picture reproduced on the scale of two-thirds, but without the gay colours of the original (Ch. liv. 004). This represents a Buddhist Heaven presided over by a Buddha whom M. Petrucci takes to be àkyamuni.2 In certain characteristic features of the main theme, as well as in the side scenes, our painting

2 Cf. Serindia, Appendix E, p. iq.ra.