head with elongated earlobes; downcast eyes; headdress with scrolls, tassels and floral forms, with pair of ornaments on either side with three red balls on blue drops; traces of blue pigment at hairline; traces of red pigment on lips; traces of olive-colored patina on skin of face; red, green and blue pigment on headdress; received attached to rectangular black base

Head of a Bodhisattva, late 6th century

Unknown artist, expand_more
G200expand_more

This sculpture was originally the head of a standing figure of a bodhisattva—a being who has postponed its own passage to nirvana in order to guide others to salvation. Carved fully in the round, with a serene expression and gracefully curved downcast eyes, it wears an elaborate crown that is secured by knotted ribbons that hang down behind its ears. These characteristic knots of scarves help date the sculpture to the Sui dynasty. The figure represents some important changes in Buddhist art in China. It exhibits a new fashion for elaboration and ornament that emerged at this time. It also demonstrates another trend of the period—the use of freestanding sculptures rather than high reliefs in cave-temples or on stelae.

Details
Title
Head of a Bodhisattva
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2017.5
Curator Approved

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head with elongated earlobes; downcast eyes; headdress with scrolls, tassels and floral forms, with pair of ornaments on either side with three red balls on blue drops; traces of blue pigment at hairline; traces of red pigment on lips; traces of olive-colored patina on skin of face; red, green and blue pigment on headdress; received attached to rectangular black base