figure seated with legs crossed, one hand raised and one hand resting on a rail; dressed in flowing robes, crown on head; incised line details overall; rail curving around figure at front, supported behind at sides and in center front of figure; sculpture sits on a fitted black wood base

Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning, 15th-16th century

Unknown artist, expand_more

Bronzeexpand_more

Gift of Ruth and Bruce Daytonexpand_more  2003.66

G201expand_more

The introduction of Mahayana ("Greater Vehicle") Buddhism into China had a tremendous effect on Daoism. Daoist writers began to reproduce the narrative style of Buddhist writings and to develop deities such as this in imitation of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the Buddhist pantheon. The Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning was seen as the source of all Daoist teachings. When the deity first revealed his teachings, the blind regained their sight and the deaf were able to hear. This classic depiction of the Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning depicts the deity in rich, silken garments, eyes downcast with hand raised in teaching discourse. This bronze sculpture was most likely made as one of a set of the three celestial worthies (similar to the paintings behind) intended for use on an altar table such as this one.

Details
Title
Celestial Worthy of Primordial Beginning
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2003.66
Curator Approved

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figure seated with legs crossed, one hand raised and one hand resting on a rail; dressed in flowing robes, crown on head; incised line details overall; rail curving around figure at front, supported behind at sides and in center front of figure; sculpture sits on a fitted black wood base