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Two Buddhist religious instruments

Two Buddhist religious instruments

liturgical object

Liao Dynasty (907 – 1125)
Border provinces of northern China
Wood and gold leaf
M.C. 2003-3 : H : 6.8 cm L : 27.3 cm D : 6.8 cm, M.C. 2003-4 : H : 7.2 cm L : 26 cm D : 7 cm
M.C. 2003-3 and M.C. 2003-4

These two gold religious Buddhist instruments, presumably a pair, date back to the 10th century. Each element consists of a tube, with a sphere in the middle. A corolla is located over each end of this axis, creating eight lotus petals. A thin groove links the corolla to a second row of a slim and slender limb, where each element has been individually indented. From this delicate wreath, curiously enough, a wooden lotus button emerges, still covered with fragments of layers of primer, which support the hypothesis that these pieces were previously painted. The metal parts bear an incised decoration: a delicate floral rinceau inspired by Tang goldsmithing on the tubes, lotus petals on the spheres, simple elements on the corolla and flower. The liturgical function of these rare pieces, which seem to fit within a wider range of religious objects, remains a mystery. A ritual linked to Amitābha or another divinity of its kula, perhaps from an extremely localised school whose doctrine was not diffused widely, seems likely. Despite the lack of directly comparable pieces, their stylistic characteristics suggest that these objects are from the 10th century. They dramatically represent a still mysterious aspect of the multiple forms of Buddhism that existed in the territories then controlled by the Khitan Empire.

Auteur de la notice : Gilles Béguin
Collection : Liao Dynasty (907-1125)
Mode d'acquisition : Donation of Mr and Mrs Guy and Myriam Ullens, 2003.
  • Deux instruments culturels bouddhiques

Deux instruments culturels bouddhiques
© Musée Cernuschi