Plates XXXIX, XL] DESCRIPTIVE ACCOUNT OF PICTURES 55
in stiff hieratic attitude is seated on a red Padmàsana with his left leg resting on a small lotus and the right bent across. With his right hand raised he grasps the mendicant's staff, while the left, palm uppermost, is held outwards empty. Over an under-robe of yellow with vermilion border he carries a maroon-bordered mantle of perished colour, while a traveller's shawl of maroon covers head and shoulders. Gilded diamonds sprinkle shawl and borders. The face and breast are gilded, but the exposed portions of the limbs are painted light red.
From the large circular halo in blue, vermilion, and white spread out on either side three waving rays in the same colours, intended to bear figures representative of the Six Worlds (gata) as seen in Plate xxv ; but these have not been drawn in. On either side of the Bodhisattva stands an amply robed figure with hands in adoration. From the fashion in which the hair of the figure on the left is done in two knobs it can be recognized as a man, while the hair descending in a roll on the neck of the other figure marks it as a woman. Whether the donor and his wife are intended is not certain.
In slanting rows descending from Ksitigarbha's lotus seat the Ten Infernal Judges are shown sitting on their heels, five on each side. They wear magisterial robes with head-dresses of varying shapes and carry narrow rolls of paper in their hands. Their faces, drawn in three-quarter profile, show some endeavour at individual characterization. Behind them on the right stand two men, with belted coats and wide-brimmed hats, holding a small and a very large roll of paper respectively. A third man, in a corresponding position on the left, carries what appears to be a writing-brush.
In the foreground we see again, crouching, a white lion, of very stylized form. A man's figure, probably representing the soul of a departed, stands in adoring pose at its head, while on the opposite side another person with grotesque features raises his hands imploringly towards Ksitigarbha. Both as regards its archaic style of design and its peculiar hard colouring the picture has no pendant in our collection. But, as Mr. Binyon has justly observed, it remains at present uncertain ` whether the primitive features may not be due to provincial style preserving old tradition rather than to actual antiquity '.87
KSITIGARBHA AS PATRON OF TRAVELLERS
THE painting (Ch. 0084) reproduced here on half the scale of the original also represents Ksitigarbha, like the one in the receding Plate, but shows striking differences of style in composition, drawing, and colouring. Simplicity of design, delicacy of line, and harmonious quiet of colours all combine to give to this picture a singular charm of its own, admirably expressive of serene beatitude. It is painted on pale green silk and, except where it is broken at the bottom, well preserved along with its border of greenish-blue silk.
We see the Bodhisattva seated cross-legged on an open lotus with gracefully pointed red petals. His face, round and youthful, bears an expression of benignant mildness. The eyes, long and straight, are cast slightly downwards. The right hand holds the mendicant's staff and the left, resting on the knee, a flaming ball of crystal. He is dressed in a yellowish under-robe, apparently lined with pink, and a light green mantle which is barred and bordered with black. Head and shoulders are draped in a shawl of Indian red ornamented with a faint spot pattern in yellow.
The nimbus and circular halo are ornamented with elaborate ray and floral patterns in red and green and edged with flames. A broad band of white surrounds the whole figure and lifts it out of the green background. In the corners of this are seen floating sprays with red flowers.
87 See above, p. 8.