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0077 The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1
The Thousand Buddhas : vol.1 / Page 77 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000188
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probably meant to represent the fabulous Mount Meru where Buddhist mythology locates the Guardian-kings of the Regions.

Wherever the eye falls in this small but exquisite picture we may appreciate the sure drawing with its cleanness of touch, the harmonious colouring, and the highly finished workmanship. But it is in this background that we can realize best to what extent the artist shared that understanding of the Chinese genius for the control of ordered fluent line and the power of suggestion in spacing.



THE fragment of a large paper painting (Ch. 00373) reproduced here on the scale of three-fourths is of interest as it represents somewhat rare details in skilful execution, and also on account of its unusual technique. The picture, of which another fragment survives, has been drawn upon a fine ground laid over smooth buff paper. The colours delicately painted over this are blight and particularly pleasing by their softness, and I regret that their reproduction had to be forgone. The execution is more finished than that of any of the other paper paintings from Chien-fo-tung. Of the subject of the whole painting it is impossible to say more than that it probably represented the ` Mandala ' of a Buddha or Bodhisattva.

Our fragment shows on the left, against a background of large-leaved flowering trees, a demon of dark blue body and limbs holding up with his hands a naked infant who leans towards him smiling and with arms stretched out. The infant's form and features are exquisitely drawn with fluent lines expressive of baby-like plumpness and shaded in pink and white. He has black hair and a red trefoil mark on his forehead. The reddish-pink face of the demon bears a cleverly conveyed tender expression, which contrasts with his fierce features and shock of red and green hair. We have already met with the figure of a similar demon holding an infant in the group attending the Bodhisattvas on the right in Bhaisajyaguru's Paradise as shown by Plate 1, and another is found among Vai§ravana's attendants in a woodcut from Chien-fo-tung.86

On the right is seen a many-tiered umbrella hung with streamers and tasselled chains, as found often over the chief Bodhisattvas in large Paradise paintings (see Plate i). In the middle of the bottom portion of the fragment appears the upper part of the halo, topknot, and tiara of a Bodhisattva. Above the central ornament of the tiara is seen the head of a white stag with antlers painted in silver.



THE three silk banners which this Plate reproduces on the scale of one-third all depict Virûpàksa, the Guardian-king of the West and, after Vaisravana, the most popular of the Lokapâlas. When describing above his fine picture as seen in Plate xxvii, I have already had occasion briefly to indicate the iconographic features which are common to all our Lokapâla representations, and to touch also upon those minor characteristics which allow us to distinguish certain groups among our numerous banners of these divinities." Hence

88 See Serindia, Plate c (Ch. ooi58).   97 See above, p. 4o sq.