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0054 The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1
The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1 / Page 54 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000188
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and falls on his shoulders. Of the usual Bodhisattvas' adornment only a jewelled necklace and bracelets appear. A multicoloured halo, edged with flames, forms the background to the figure, while above it hangs a canopy represented by flowered sprays and strings of jewels.

Down the two sides are ranged the ten Infernal Kings or Magistrates, seated at draped tables, on which scrolls of judgement are spread. Attendants wait on them in varying attitudes, taking instructions, delivering reports, holding fans, &c. With the exception of a fan-holder in demon shape, the attendants are all in secular Chinese dress. All the Judges but one wear Chinese magisterial costume : long under-robes, voluminous wide-sleeved coats of scarlet and white, and official head-dress in a variety of shapes, black, yellow, or white. The topmost Judge on the right is clad in full armour, with helmet and a coat of mail, fringed with tiger-skin, and reaching down to the feet.

In front of Ksitigarbha is seated a white lion, faced by a monk raising his hands in adoration to the Bodhisattva. Further in the foreground we see a condemned soul, naked except for a loin-cloth, and wearing the cangue, led by an ox-headed mace-carrying demon. In a magic mirror he is made to see the crime for which he has been condemned—the murder of an ox. A cloud above the mirror marks the scene as a dream. Beside the mirror stands an attendant holding brush and scroll.

The numerous cartouches scattered about have been left uninscribed, or have become illegible. The same is the case with those by the donors' figures at the foot of the picture. Foremost on either side kneels a monk holding a censer. Behind the one on the right stands a boy attendant holding the fungus sceptre (ju-i), and behind him again kneels a man with the wide-brimmed black hat usual in tenth-century costume. The same chronological indication is furnished by the dress and coiffure of the ladies who are shown kneeling behind the monk on the left.

The picture on the left of the Plate (Ch. lviii. 003, reproduced on the scale of three-eighths) is complete with its border of purple silk gauze and suspension loops, and shows Ksitigarbha in his character of Lord of the Six Worlds, or Gatis, and Patron of Travellers. He sits facing the spectator on a scarlet lotus in a pose which is the exact reverse of the one shown by Ksitigarbha in the previously described painting. Thus the right hand holds the mendicant's staff and the left the ball of crystal. The under-robe, shaded in red and green, is covered by a mantle of red and black inwoven on white ground and barred with black. Over his head and shoulders is thrown a grey shawl ornamented with yellow spots and having a scarlet border on which large flowers in green and white are figured.

On a flat-topped rock in front of the Bodhisattva, covered with an altar-cloth, is a large green bowl, containing an open lotus. On either side sits or kneels a Bodhisattva in adoring attitude.

From either side of Ksitigarbha's red and green halo rise three waving rays of scarlet ; each of them carry small figures meant to represent the Six Worlds of Desire. They are on the right : above, a man for the World of Men ; a deity supporting discs of the Sun and Moon, for the World of the Gods ; a Preta amongst flames for the World of Hell. On the left the Bodhisattva-like figure at the top represents the World of the Asuras, or demigods ; on the middle ray two representatives of the World of Animals are recognizable in spite of the broken condition of the silk, while below a devil with pitchfork and cauldron symbolizes the World of Demons.

At the bottom of the picture we see represented a stone slab bearing a dedicatory inscription and on either side of it two finely drawn figures of men and ladies respectively. Their costume and hair-dress furnish good examples of the type characteristic of donor figures of the tenth century. The inscription on the slab is dated in A. D. 963, and according to M. Petrucci records the dedication of the painting by a certain votary who prays for deliverance from long illness. He makes his offering also for the benefit of his departed parents and of two other relatives named in the cartouches by their sides.