Part iv] THE ART OF THE TUN-HUANG PAINTINGS 1431
sensitive expressiveness, matches the wonderful complex harmonies of the design. A small Avalokitdvara with willow-spray (Thousand Buddhas, Pl. XX) is gem-like in its vivid orange and jade-green, burning from a sombre background. Two fragments of an immense arched composition (Thousand Buddhas, PI. IV) have a splendid breadth and vigour allied to a deep religious sentiment, reminding us of early Italian frescoes. The little picture of Vaigravana crossing the Ocean (P1. LXXII) is on the other hand in a miniature style, rich in fluid rhythms and glowing in colour. Such paintings as these make us feel how glorious must have been the Buddhist art of Tang in the hands of its mightiest masters ; while of its secular art also, as we have seen, the Tun-huang pictures give us precious glimpses.
Finally, we must notice the light which the collection throws on the mysterious art of Tibet. Among the paintings is one, painted on linen in distemper (Thousand Buddhas, Pl. XXXI), which is of the well-defined type familiar to us from examples brought from Tibet itself. As Tibetan power was dominant in the Tun-huang region from the middle of the eighth to the middle of the ninth century, we may suppose it to belong to that period : in that case it would certainly be one of the oldest, if not the oldest Tibetan painting known to us. Whether any of the other pictures represents the Tibetan style in a phase not yet matured and fixed we cannot say. There are, however, also a few outline drawings on paper (Thousand Buddhas, PI. XXXII); and these add to our examples of early Tibetan art.