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This image shows a black-haired person wearing a green robe and gold jewelry, sitting cross legged, raising their right hand up with their left hand in their lap.

This image shows a black-haired person sitting cross legged against a brown background. The person is wearing a green, open chested robe and golden necklace, bracelets, and hair pin. The person's black hair is pulled up into a bun on top of their head, held in place by the large pin. Their left hand is placed in their lap while their right hand is raised straight up Infront of their right chest. There are blue and green, abstract, vertical shapes that go up the length of the right and left side of the image.

Gallery Text

This figure’s high chignon and the locks of hair tumbling over his shoulders, in combination with his benevolent countenance, silken scarves, and abundant jewelry, identify him as a bodhisattva. Fragmentary elements of figures to the right and left indicate that he was originally part of a group arrayed around a more exalted deity. His frontal presentation, black (as opposed to blue) hair, and lack of a halo reveal that he is a lesser bodhisattva, not one of the elevated, named bodhisattvas that would have appeared near the center of the original composition, facing and proximate to the central buddha. Indeed, this figure was once a part of the same entourage of figures in which the Kneeling Attendant Holding a Triple Jewel (1924.41), at left, was originally placed.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Bust of Bodhisattva (from the north wall of Mogao Cave 329 at Dunhuang, Gansu province)
Work Type
mural painting
7th century
Creation Place: East Asia, China, Gansu province, Dunhuang
Tang dynasty, 618-907
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2740, Buddhist Art, The Efflorescence of East Asian and Buddhist Art
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Physical Descriptions

Section of a wall painting; polychromy on unfired clay
painting proper (irregular): H. 34.7 x W. 21.3 cm (13 11/16 x 8 3/8 in.)
framed: H. 73.5 x W. 53.5 x D. 3.5 cm (28 15/16 x 21 1/16 x 1 3/8 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
From Mogao Cave 329, Dunhuang, Gansu province; acquired during the First Fogg Expedition to China (1923-24) led by Langdon Warner (1881-1955)

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, First Fogg Expedition to China (1923-1924)
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Publication History

  • Sanchita Balachandran, "Research into the Collecting and Conservation History of Chinese Wall Paintings from Dunhuang in the Harvard University Art Museums" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 2004), Unpublished, passim
  • Sanchita Balachandran, Object Lessons: The Politics of Preservation and Museum Building in Western China in the Early Twentieth Century, International Journal of Cultural Property (2007), Vol. 14, No. 1, 1-32

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2740 Buddhist II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project

Verification Level

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at