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0063 The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1
The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1 / Page 63 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000188
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OF the pictures reproduced in this Plate (all on the scale of three-fifths) the two on the sides bear Tibetan inscriptions and thereby prove themselves as produced and deposited after the Tibetan conquest of Tun-huang. But there is nothing essential to distinguish their style from that of other of our paintings in which hieratic figures are represented with close adherence to traditional treatment derived from India.

The paper painting on the left (Ch. 00377) shows a Bodhisattva of the type above designated as ` Indian ' seated on a yellow lotus, with legs all but crossed and the right hand raised in the vitarka-mudrd. The Tibetan inscription kindly read by Dr. Barnett es describes him as the ` Lord of the upper region ', and as the Indian cosmic system places the Sun and Moon in this ` upper region ', the discs above the Bodhisattva, with the emblem of the Sun god on the right and that of the Moon god (now effaced) on the left, are fully accounted for.

The Bodhisattva's face bears a somewhat ferocious aspect ; his flesh is faintly coloured with pink. His garments are touched with pink, crimson, and olive green, while the jewellery is left uncoloured. The black hair is tied into a high topknot and descends in stylized ringlets on the shoulders. The oval nimbus and vesica are both edged with flames.

The paper painting (Ch. 00376) on the right, which belongs to the same series, is a more pleasing production. According to the Tibetan inscription below the haloed figure represents Kâlika, a disciple of S~âkyamuni and the fourth of the Great Apostles. He is seated on a mat, cross-legged and wrapped in a red and buff mantle lined with olive green. The right hand carries the mendicant's bowl ; the head is shaven. The monk's features are full of character and drawn with much decision. On the right is stuck the beggar's staff, with a bracket from which hangs his wallet.

Superior to these paintings in design and workmanship is the drawing on paper (Ch. 00145) reproduced in the middle. It shows a monk seated on a mat in meditation. His shaven head, with large, somewhat straight, features, bears an expression of firmness and concentration admirably rendered with a few fluent lines. Neither eyes nor nose and mouth bear a Chinese look. And yet the whole drawing clearly bears the impress of a Chinese artist's brush.

The monk wears an ample mantle, and below it an under-robe with conventional cross bars marking the mendicant's patched garb. In front are deposited his shoes, behind to the left is placed a high stoppered vase, while on a thorn-tree to the right are hung his rosary and wallet. The drawing of the tree is unmistakably Chinese in character, and the whole disposition of the little picture illustrates the mastery of spacing inherent in Chinese artistic feeling. For once we are taken away from the sphere of hieratic conventions and brought into touch with life as the eyes of the artist, or those of an earlier master, saw it.



THE two pictures on paper reproduced in this Plate on the scale of three-fourths claim interest by their subjects as well as by their artistic merit. The one on the right (Ch. 00380) presents an aged hermit with a tiger walking by his side. The hermit is represented with a face extremely wrinkled, shaggy eyebrows, deeply sunken eyes and cheeks. With his right hand he leans upon a rough staff, in his left he carries a stick ending in a Vajra and fly-whisk. He wears sandals, long spotted trousers, and two tunics, the shorter

68 See his Appendix K, Serindia, p. 1473.