Paintings brought back from the Thousand Buddhas caves in Dunhuang by Aurel Stein, together with an Introduction and a Description.
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Descriptive Account of Pictures from the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas at Tun-Huang
by Aurel Stein
Plate I: [In the original publication Stein had two photographs of portions of this painting. Here I have included one photograph of the whole painting. Because of this what was marked Plates I, II in the orignal is here Plate I, and it is followed by Plate III]. The Paradise of Bhaiṣajyaguru
The first plate reproduces … [Stein gave the relative size of the Plate to the original. As this no longer makes any sense here, I have removed these remarks and marked them with ellipsis.]. a large painting on silk (Ch. lii. 003), remarkable for its noble design, the delicacy of its drawing, and its glowing colours. In spite of the damage it has suffered along its sides and bottom (see Serindia, Pl. LVII) it still measures close on seven feet in height and over five and a half feet across. It represents a Buddhist Paradise and, according to M. Petrucci’s interpretation, the one presided over by Bhaiṣajyaguru, the Buddha of Medicine, whose cult since an early period has been widespread in Northern Buddhism from Tibet to Japan. His Heaven is placed in the East by sacred texts preserved in the Chinese Tripiṭaka. In their descriptions as well as in our painting Bhaiṣajyaguru’s Paradise shares the essential features of that still more popular abode of Buddhist bliss, the Western Paradise, or Sukhāvatī, presided over by the Buddha Amitābhā. Of this the ‘Caves of the Thousand Buddhas’ have preserved numerous representations both among the pictures recovered from the walled-up chapel (see Pls. VI-VIII, X-XI) and among the mural paintings decorating the temples. But the legendary scenes occupying the side panels of our painting and connected with Bhaiṣajyaguru are different, and so are also certain details in the arrangement and personnel of the main subject. These distinctive features are found again in another somewhat less elaborate picture of Bhaiṣajyaguru’s Paradise, reproduced in Plate
His Heaven presents itself in our picture, as in all the large Paradise paintings of Tun-huang, as a great assemblage of celestial beings, elaborately staged on richly decorated terraces and courts which rise above a lotus lake. On the sides and behind the terraces there are seen pavilions and elaborate structures of characteristically Chinese style, representing the heavenly mansions. It is in this sumptuous setting that Chinese Buddhism has visualized from an early period the idea of a Paradise where the souls of believers in the Law may be reborn, free from all taint, in the buds of the lotus lake to enjoy thereafter for aeons, or in popular belief for ever, blissful rest and pleasures in the company of Bodhisattvas, Arhats, and other beatified personalities. The scheme of the whole, as in all representations of Buddhist Heavens among the Tun-huang paintings, is ordered on the strictly symmetrical lines of a ‘Maṇḍala’, buildings, trees, groups, and even individual figures balancing each other on either side of the picture and all centring round the presiding Buddha in the middle.
Here we see Bhaiṣajyaguru seated with folded legs and wearing a crimson mantle over a green under-robe. While his right hand is raised as usual in the vitarka-mudrā, the left holds the begging bowl in his lap. Behind him a couple of flowering trees support a hexagonal canopy of red drapery. A halo and nimbus of manifold but harmoniously blended colours  surround the Buddha’s figure, which in pose and dress and in the features of the mild pensive face bears the impress of the type first evolved in Graeco-Buddhist art even more clearly than the figures of the surrounding Bodhisattvas. Of these the two enthroned are identified by M. Petrucci with Mañjuśrī on the right and Samantabhadra on the left. Above these two chief Bodhisattvas rise six-tiered umbrellas wreathed in clouds, about which float gracefully poised figures of Apsaras. The rich flowing garments, which include shawl-like stoles, and the abundant jewelled ornaments of the two are shared also by other haloed figures obviously meant for Bodhisattvas, who appear in attendance on the central Buddha or in varying supple poses occupy the fore portion of the terrace. The features of all are drawn with extreme delicacy and pleasing variety of expression, the eyes being in many cases almost straight, while the flesh is white, with shading in tints of pink.
By the side of either of the enthroned Bodhisattvas there is seen a composite group of divinities, unhaloed and five on each side, of types not ordinarily met with among the attendants in these Paradise pictures. Three figures in each group are warrior kings, recalling the Lokapālas, or Guardians of the Four Regions (see Pls.
Before the central Buddha and in the middle of the picture is seen a large platform projecting from the main terrace and carrying a draped altar with sacred vessels. On either side of it kneel two unhaloed figures in graceful poses holding up offerings and suggesting nymphs. Projecting still further into the foreground is a smaller platform, and on it a dancer performs in rapid movement to the strains of an orchestra of eight seated musicians. The dancing figure, unmistakably that of a girl, is dressed in a billowy orange skirt tied round the hips and a close-fitting crimson jacket reaching only to the waist and surmounted by a metal-bound plastron [plate armour]. Her head and arms are richly adorned with jewellery. From behind the neck issues a long narrow stole which her hands wave as she dances. The figures of the musicians, four on each side, resemble those of Bodhisattvas in features and dress, but the shawl-like stoles over the shoulders are absent. Those to the left play on a harp, two lutes, and a psaltery, while those to the right play on clappers, flute, Chinese reed-organ, and pipe. The instruments, of which several have their ancient Japanese counterparts among the treasures of the Shosoin collection (see Shosoin Catalogue, i. Pls. 56, 60), have been fully described in Miss Schlesinger’s expert notes in Appendix K to Serindia.
At the head of each line of musicians there is seen in the background a small but very curious figure, that of a fat half-naked infant violently dancing and playing, the one to the left on a narrow-waisted drum, the one to the right apparently on castanets. Judging from other Paradise pictures we may assume that these playing infants represent newly reborn souls who in the joy of their celestial childhood have been drawn to join the happy scene of music and dancing.
A kind of gangway projects in front of the dancer’s platform into the lotus lake, and at its entrance stands a Garuḍa with widespread wings, playing on cymbals. From the lake rise trees and purple or scarlet lotus buds and flowers, the latter supporting souls reborn. Two of these, at the extreme right and left, are sitting upright as fully developed Bodhisattvas, but with a languid air of newly awakened consciousness. Two others, faintly visible in the foreground, are represented as naked infants just springing to life or still curled up in sleep. A rock on the left at the bottom edge of the lake is occupied by a crane; its pendant on the right [is] a peacock …
 The bottom corners of the Paradise are filled by the twelve armed Kings, the generals of Bhaiṣajyaguru, who act as protectors of the Law. They kneel six a side upon small terraces with gangways sloping down into the lake. They are treated in appearance and dress like Lokapālas, but carry no distinctive weapons. Their hands are joined in adoration or else hold sacred vessels, jewels, &c.
Turning to the sides of the picture, we see the main terrace flanked by two-storied pavilions, both of distinctively Chinese architecture, and close by them trees carrying rich foliage but no flowers. The upper chambers of the pavilions are open and show small Bodhisattvas sitting on railings, pulling up reed-blinds or otherwise enjoying their leisured life. The lower chambers contain only unoccupied lotus seats and appear to have just been abandoned by two subsidiary Buddhas, who are represented as advancing, each with two attendant Bodhisattvas, on to projecting wings of the main terrace. The dress of the subsidiary Buddhas is exactly that of the presiding Bhaiṣajyaguru, of whom M. Petrucci takes them to be repetitions, and the expression of their faces is similarly mild and pensive.
The marginal scenes … have been identified by M. Petrucci as representing incidents of the legend of Bhaiṣajyaguru’s last incarnation as a Bodhisattva. Without reference to the text of the Chinese Tripiṭaka which records this legend, but of which the translation prepared by M. Petrucci is not at present accessible, no interpretation of the different scenes can be attempted here. Judging from the inscribed cartouches, at least five scenes are represented in the predella [platform] portion actually reproduced in our Plate. That the treatment of the figures, the dresses, the landscape is in purely Chinese style is an observation uniformly applying to all side scenes to be found in ‘Maṇḍala’ pictures from the ‘Thousand Buddhas’, as well as to the banners representing episodes from Gautama Buddha’s life-story (see Pls.
A combination of special qualities renders this painting of Bhaiṣajyaguru’s Paradise one of the most impressive pictures in the Collection and proves it to be from the hand of a master. As Mr. Binyon happily puts it, we see in it ‘delicate expressiveness of drawing combined with a glowing animation of varied colour… The artist has been able to control his complex material and multitude of forms into a wonderful harmony, without any restlessness or confusion; and we are taken into an atmosphere of strange peace which yet seems filled with buoyant motion and floating strains of music.’
Plate III: A Celestial Assemblage
The observations just quoted apply with equal force to the large painting on silk (Ch. xxxvii. 004) [which is reproduced in full here]. The painting itself, which though incomplete on all sides still measures close on six feet across by five feet in height, represents but the upper portion of a much larger composition. Judging from what survives of the central figure in the lower broken part (see Serindia, Pl. LIX), the picture as a whole was meant for a ‘Maṇḍala’ of the thousand-armed Avalokiteśvara, the Kuan-yin of Chinese Buddhism. But the heavy band of rhomboidal ornament which, as seen near the lower edge of the Plate, passes behind the halo of this large central figure clearly marks off the divine assemblage in the upper portion from the rest as a well-defined theme by itself.
 The Buddha presiding over this assemblage … is taken by M. Petrucci for Bhaiṣajyaguru, and the similarity in pose and accessories to the central Buddha of the previously discussed picture seems to support this identification. Unfortunately the inscription in Chinese and Tibetan which occupies the large yellow cartouche in the centre and might have afforded safe guidance has faded into illegibility. On either side of this central Buddha is seen a Bodhisattva, seated with one leg pendent and with the hand nearest to the Buddha raised, like the right of the latter himself, in the vitarka-mudrā, the gesture of argument. In pose, dress, and treatment of features these two seated Bodhisattvas bear a distinctly Indian air, and this would well agree with the identification proposed for them by M. Petrucci, who on the strength of inscriptional indications in a simplified Maṇḍala of Bhaiṣajyaguru is prepared to recognize Samantabhadra in the Bodhisattva to the left and his usual counterpart Mañjuśrī in the corresponding seated Bodhisattva to the right. Cf. Serindia, p. 1420. For a distinctively ‘Indian’ representation of Mañjuśrī, see below, Plate XXVII. Between the presiding Buddha and the Bodhisattva on either side are grouped three lesser Bodhisattvas in adoring poses and two haloed monkish disciples. The heads of the latter, one young, the other old and emaciated, are drawn with much expressive skill. The same is the case with the faces of most of the Bodhisattvas, though the great difficulties which the painting offers to photography do not allow the extreme delicacy of the drawing to be fully appreciated in the reproduction.
While the grouping and treatment of the divine personalities so far named follow well-established lines, a striking feature, met with again only once among our ‘Maṇḍala’ paintings, is introduced by the two processions which descend, carried on purple clouds, from either side towards the centre of the picture. On the left our Plate shows us the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra seated on a lotus which a white elephant, his recognized vāhana, carries, as he advances accompanied by Bodhisattvas and preceded by heavenly musicians to meet Mañjuśrī. The latter Bodhisattva appears in the corresponding right-hand portion of the picture seated on his lion and escorted by an exactly similar cortège.
Apart from six figures of undetermined lesser Bodhisattvas, some of whom carry sacred vessels, the cortège of either comprises four youthful musicians playing on clappers, pipe, flute, and mouth-organ. In front of them marches a dark-coloured boy, undoubtedly meant for an Indian, carrying a bronze vessel, while another strides by the side of the chief Bodhisattva, leading his mount. The exaggerated dark colour of these Indians is, like the misdrawing of the elephant’s head and limbs, significant of the painter’s want of familiarity with things Indian. In the background two of the Lokapālas, or Guardian-kings of the Four Quarters, attend the train of each divinity. About the fluttering canopy which rises above the head of each float gracefully drawn Gandharvīs (Apsaras). From the side there sweeps down a bevy of tiny Bodhisattva figures clustered within a wreath of purple cloud, while above it a group of picturesque hills, drawn with true Chinese feeling for landscape, fills the top corner.
Throughout the picture the workmanship is that of a master, and the serene dignity of the composition as a whole is very happily blended with tenderness of mood and harmonious subtlety of line and colour.
Plates IV, V: Processions of Mañjuśrī and Samantabhadra
Closely allied in subject and treatment to the last described picture, though not quite equal to it in quality of execution, are the two grand fragments (Ch. xxxvii. 003, 005) partially illustrated by Plates IV and V. These two large pieces of silk with curved tops once belonged respectively to the right and left sides of one arch-shaped picture. The centre portion, which is likely to have contained a seated Buddha, is lost. But some idea of the size of the whole  may be formed from the fact that the surviving right side portion (Ch. xxxvii. 003, Pl. IV) in its broken state still measures six and a half feet in height with a width of about three and a half feet, while the dimensions of the badly broken left side are even larger. The shape of the picture suggests that it was originally intended to occupy the back of a vaulted chapel recess or of the aisle of an antechapel.
The right portion reproduced in Plate IV shows us Mañjuśrī, mounted on his white lion, advancing towards the centre, surrounded by a host of attendant Bodhisattvas, Lokapālas, demons, and nymphs. His mount is led by an Indian attendant and preceded by a pair of musicians. The whole procession is carried on a purple cloud.
The figure of Mañjuśrī is seated in the same attitude as that of Samantabhadra in Plate
By the side of the attendant Bodhisattvas, all showing peaceful features, we note Lokapālas with their demon followers. Of the former Virūḍhaka, Guardian-king of the South, is recognizable by his club. The demons are characterized by grotesque features and colouring of deep red. The attendant divinity seen walking in the lower right corner awaits identification. He wears the dress of a Chinese dignitary (high-waisted flowery under-robe and wide-sleeved jacket), while coiffure and nimbus are those of a Bodhisattva. He carries a fan and is attended by two nymphs; of the one on the right only the head survives in the extant fragment. The leader of the lion has a skin of chocolate-brown colour and coarse features, suggesting a negro type.
Of the figures of the musicians walking in front but little is preserved on the right side of the picture. But the corresponding pair on the left side, which Plate V reproduces, [The original Plate only showed the musicians near the bottom right of our Plate, and the description is of that]. has suffered less damage and allows us to enjoy both the spirited design and the great delicacy of drawing in these figures. They march with uplifted heads, playing on whistle-pipe and mouth-organ. In the face of the flute-player on the left delighted absorption in the music is admirably expressed, while the curving lines of the body and the floating loose garments convey a sense of rhythmic motion in complete harmony with the subject. Equally expressive is the drawing in the face of the musician to the right, with its look of intent concentration. [We] see here the method of shading used by the painter in the treatment of the flesh. The delicate colouring of the faces is well set off by the stronger but harmoniously blended tints of the large globe-shaped tassel which appears between them, hanging from the harness of Samantabhadra’s elephant. In the same way the strong black of their hair and the dark brown of the Mahout’s figure, partially seen on the left edge of Plate V, help to give strength to the colour scheme, in which light greens and reds prevail.
Plate VI: Details from a Painting of a Buddhist Heaven
Here we see the left-hand bottom portion of a Paradise picture … but without the gay colours of the original (Ch. liv. 004). This represents a Buddhist Heaven presided over by a Buddha whom M. Petrucci takes to be Śākyamuni. Cf. Serindia, Appendix E, p. 1410. In certain characteristic features of the main theme, as well as in the side scenes, our painting  agrees closely with the Paradise picture (Ch. xxxviii. 004), of which Plate
The portion of the painting actually shown in our Plate represents at the top the attendant host of Bodhisattvas, seated or kneeling by the side of the altar which occupies a central position on the terrace. A projecting part of this terrace serves as [a] platform for the performance of the celestial dancer and carries at either front corner the figure of a Garuḍa playing on a musical instrument, apparently pipe and clappers. The whole of the terrace is clearly shown as of wooden construction and as raised on sloping piles above the waters of the lotus lake. An unusual feature is the grouping of the divine musicians on two separate terraces in the bottom corners. They are six on each side and play on harp, lute, syrinx and Chinese mouth-organ, whistle-pipe, and clappers. Behind the musicians are trees with pear-shaped leaves and groups of conventional pink and white flowers. From the lake rise reborn souls in the shape of infants carried on open lotuses. The face and gesture of the one seen on the left below the railing of the main terrace admirably express the awakening consciousness of the newly born soul.
Throughout the picture the workmanship is highly finished, and the delicacy of the drawing, especially in the features of the Bodhisattvas, deserves notice. The prevailing colours are, as usual, shades of crimson and dull green; but these are enlivened by the white of the flesh of all divine figures and the orange, pale blue, and purple used on stoles and haloes.
The legendary scenes on the sides which M. Chavannes first identified from the cartouches, here fortunately bearing Chinese inscriptions, See Serindia, Appendix A, pp. 1434 sqq. display throughout purely Chinese style in the dress and attitudes of figures, &c. The figure of the kneeling lady in the left bottom compartment is the portrait of a donatrix and may claim special interest. Her costume and coiffure agree closely with those of the donatrices in two paintings bearing exact dates of the second half of the ninth century A.D., See particularly the painting, Ch. Iv. 0023, of A.D. 864 reproduced in Plate XVI. while they show a marked difference from the far more elaborate fashion displayed by the ladies who appear in our numerous dated pictures of the tenth century. I have had occasion to call attention elsewhere to the very helpful indicia which changing fashions in the dress and coiffure of donatrices, and to a lesser extent in those of donor figures also, supply for the chronology of the Ch’ien-fo-tung pictures. Cf. Serindia, pp. 850, 885, 888.
Plate VII: The Paradise of Śākyamuni
This painting (Ch. xxxviii. 004), reproduced here … is practically complete and in a very fair state of preservation, still retaining its border of yellowish-green silk. As already mentioned in the description of the preceding Plate, it represents the Paradise of a Buddha in whom M. Petrucci recognizes Śākyamuni, the historical Buddha. See Serindia, p. 1410. The ordinance of the celestial assemblage is simple, though showing some peculiar features. The presiding Buddha, with legs interlocked and both hands in the vitarka-mudrā, occupies a lotus seat in the centre and faces the draped altar. By him we see seated two principal Bodhisattvas, alike in appearance and dress but with hands in different poses. According to M. Petrucci’s view based on the inscriptions of a much-reduced presentation of the same Paradise (Ch. xxxiii. 001), we may identify the Bodhisattva on the left with Ākāśagarbha and the one on the right with Kṣitigarbha. Between them and the Buddha is shown on each side  a small shaven disciple, of childlike appearance with hands in adoration. Above the heads of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas are seen canopies carried by pairs of trees and encircled by big flowers, and behind them appears the pavilion with boldly upturned eaves which represents the celestial mansion, the habitation of blessed souls. In the air above and carried on clouds float the small figures of four Buddhas amidst a sprinkling of orange flowers.
On the main terrace in front of the triad we see a dancer performing in spirited movement. Its rhythmic rapidity is happily conveyed by the graceful scroll-lines of the scarf she waves freely in her hands. On either side four Bodhisattvas occupy lotus seats with hands folded in adoration. Pairs of musicians sit in front of them, playing on a reed-organ, lute, psaltery, and clappers. Gangways lead down from the terrace to the lotus lake. Its bottom corners are occupied by Garuḍa figures, half human half bird, standing on rocks and displaying plumy semi-floral tails, with hands folded in adoration.
Most of the foreground is filled by a large isolated terrace carrying in the centre a subsidiary Buddha, an arrangement which is peculiar. On his right is seated a small Bodhisattva adoring, while to his left the corresponding place is taken by a haloed disciple with shaven head and hands in the same pose. He wears monkish robes with the addition of a necklace, and thus presents the appearance peculiar in our paintings to Kṣitigarbha, as seen in Plates
The marginal scenes of the painting, eleven in all, are taken, as mentioned above, from the legend of Kalyāṇaṁkara and Pāpaṁkara. Their detailed interpretations were to have been furnished in the volume which M. Chavannes was preparing on a selection of our paintings for publication in the Mémoires concernant l’Asie orientale with the help of materials left behind by M. Petrucci. See Serindia, p. 835. In the absence of such guidance it must suffice here to point out the purely Chinese style of all details in these scenes, including the curving hill ranges and pine-clad cliffs which serve to separate them.
A broad band resembling a tessellated pavement divides the main picture and side scenes from a panel below, which shows the donors kneeling on either side of what was the space left for a dedicatory inscription completely effaced or, perhaps, never written. On the right kneels a row of six men wearing loose belted coats of different colours, while on the left we see in front a bald-headed aged figure which may be meant either for a monk or a nun; behind it a lady alone, and in the third rank three others of more youthful appearance. Behind these again are three boys with their hair done in round tufts above the temples.
Here, too, the costumes are of interest as affording indications as to the approximate date of the painting. Among the men’s we may note that, whereas three wear black hats with wide side-flaps such as are found regularly on the heads of donors in our tenth-century pictures, the other three wear the black lobed and tailed caps which are common in the side scenes and the banners representing legendary incidents of Gautama Buddha’s life (see Pls.
 Good and refined as the drawing is, especially in the faces and hands of Bodhisattvas and donatrices, we meet elsewhere with details which have not been highly finished. As in other paintings of this class, the prevailing colour is crimson on dull light green, with orange on the Bodhisattvas’ robes and the tiles of the terrace, turquoise blue on the altar-cloth, &c.
Plate VIII: Amitābhā’s Paradise
The painting (Ch. lviii. 0011), which this Plate reproduces … is a good specimen of a fairly numerous group of pictures which represent Amitābhā’s ‘Western Paradise’, or Sukhāvatī, as it is named in Sanskrit. It has lost the side scenes and its extreme top and bottom, but is otherwise well preserved. Though not as large as some representations of this, the most popular of Buddhist Heavens, nor quite as sumptuous in its pageantry, our painting yet well illustrates all the typical features of the series. The uniformity with which the general scheme is observed in these Sukhāvatī pictures of our Collection, more than a dozen in all, points to prolonged evolution before even the oldest of them was painted.
On the principal terrace we see the presiding Buddha, Amitābhā, seated with his hand raised in the vitarka-mudrā. The Bodhisattvas seated on both sides, Avalokiteśvara to the right and Mahāsthāma to the left, make up the triad typical of Amitābhā’s Paradise as determined by inscribed representations and familiar from an early period also to Buddhism in Japan. Between them and in front, by the side of the altar, appears seated a host of lesser Bodhisattvas. The altar carries vessels with offerings and is draped with a valance decorated with triangular tabs and streamers; it is of interest as exactly corresponding to the large silk valances I recovered from the walled-up chapel. See Serindia, pp. 899 sq., 984 sq. Pls. CIX, CX. In the background above, partly screened by the elaborate canopies of the triad, are seen the celestial mansions in the shape of pavilions and towers of purely Chinese style.
A portion of the terrace projecting in front of the altar is occupied by a dancer and six musicians, to whose strains she performs. Here, too, the dancer’s rhythmic movement is emphasized by the sinuous lines of the stole which she waves in her hands and by bands fluttering upwards from her head-dress. Mouth-organ, clappers, psaltery, flute, and two differently shaped lutes are the musical instruments played on. At the foot of the gangway descending to the water of the lotus lake is shown a figure suggesting a seated Bodhisattva as seen from the back. The lotus seat and the curling drapery of a stole are clearly recognizable. The bent arms seem to support some offering, perhaps like an Indian ‘Dālī’, as traces of red flowers and of leaves can be made out in the original.
Lotus flowers and rocks appear rising above the water. In the centre of the foreground is a black-tiled platform, on which are assembled a Garuḍa, peacock, crane, and some smaller bird resembling a duck but partly effaced. On either side of this platform there rises from the water a terrace bearing a subsidiary representation of Amitābhā’s triad. The pose of the Buddha is the same as in the main group above, but both the Bodhisattvas by his side are here shown with hands joined in adoration. This repetition of the divine triad in the bottom corners is very frequent in the pictures of Amitābhā’s Paradise. The representation of a newly born soul seated on a lotus and floating up the gangway which leads to each of these subsidiary groups is a pleasing addition to this conventional arrangement.
The workmanship of the painting is throughout careful and well finished. From a background of dull green, crimson, orange-yellow and white stand out as the prevailing colours. The last is largely used on the decorated haloes and ‘Padmāsanas’, or lotus seats, as well as for the flesh of all attendant figures. The absence of black and blue is marked in the general colour scheme.
Plate IX: Legendary Scenes from a Painting of Maitreya’s Paradise
The scenes reproduced here [I have included the whole painting here first, with the detailed scenes Stein refers to below]. … are taken from the top and bottom portions of a large and well-preserved silk painting (Ch. lviii. 001) of Maitreya’s Paradise … [The missing text reads:] For a reproduction of the whole picture and for its special points of iconographic interest, as the only representation in our Collection of that famous Tuṣita Heaven in which the future Buddha of the present world period is supposed to reside, a reference to Serindia must suffice here. See Serindia, pp. 890, 1082 sq., Pl. LVIII, and M. Petrucci’s notes in Appendix E, ibid., p. 1408 sq. [Here I have reproduced the whole picture, as well as the details]. The Chinese inscriptions which render the attribution of this Paradise to Maitreya certain (even though the Bodhisattva appears in it as a Buddha, a status which he is yet to attain) are taken from the text of the Maitreya-vyākaraṇa-sūtra and accompany legendary scenes shown in the top corners and along the bottom of the painting. These scenes, as seen in our Plate, are not formally separated from the Paradise proper, but merge into it at the bottom and are above only divided from it by a range of pine-clad mountains.
The inscriptions and the legendary scenes to which they refer were to have been interpreted in MM. Petrucci and Chavannes’ separate volume in the Memoires concernant l’Asie orientale. Cf. Serindia, pp. 835, 890, note 38. The materials prepared for it by those lamented collaborators are not at present accessible to me, and in the absence of textual guidance the descriptive notes on the scenes must here be brief. In the [first] scene … we see three men in Chinese magisterial costume seated along a table on a terrace, while before them two men stand right and left of a large disc, provided with a tripod (?) and suggesting a metal mirror into which a third smaller figure appears to gaze. To the left, between two inscribed cartouches, are shown three men seated behind a table, the centre one being on a lotus seat. Their head-dress is the same black hat with broad flaps sticking out sideways which is worn by the three seated figures to the right and which, as stated above, is always found in the representations of donors on our tenth-century paintings. [See the description above, under Plate VII]. Still further to the left is depicted a husbandman in lobed and tailed cap, driving a plough before which are harnessed a dark bull or cow and a smaller whitish animal of the bovine species, apparently reluctant to move on.
In [this] scene we see a personage in official dress seated on a small platform or throne before the gate of what seems to represent a walled palace. To the left of him a demon-like figure is shown striding, while on the right he is being approached by a group comprising a Buddha and two smaller figures of monkish disciples. A little to the right of this group stands a layman in adoring pose; above the whole there appears a dragon-like monster descending on a cloud. ln the background to the right within the arched opening of a reed hut is seen a pair, apparently man and wife, seated on a low platform before which stands erect a lady wearing the wide-sleeved dress and the elaborate coiffure familiar from the donatrices of our tenth-century pictures. See, e. g., Plate XXII.
If the significance and interrelation of the [previous] scenes at present escapes us we have less difficulty about the general interpretation of [the one presented here]. [This photograph was assembled from two photographs, which I couldn’t quite match properly]. On the right and left the scenes placed below the flanking terraces of the Paradise manifestly show conversions to the Buddhist Law. On the right is seen a personage elaborately dressed and obviously of high rank, who is seated upright on a square platform, with feet on a footstool, undergoing tonsure by a monk. Four men in secular costume, holding rolls of paper in their hands, stand behind him. Three others attend in front, one of them holding a wide dish to receive the cut hair and a second carrying a vase. ln the background stands a groom holding three elaborately caparisoned horses. Their figures are well drawn with elegant small heads, broad shapely breasts, and slim legs. Two are white and one red. Their type closely recalls  the present Badakhshi breed of Western Turkestan, a favourite region for China’s horse imports since early times; it is exactly represented also among the numerous clay figures of horses which in 1915 I excavated in plenty from Turfan graves of the T’ang period. The saddles, high-pommeled at back and front, and covered with long saddle-cloths, are met with there also. For the ornamentation of headstall, breast-band, and crupper, reference to a painted panel from Dandān-oilik showing a horseman and also of the T’ang period is instructive. Cf. Stein, Ancient Khotan, ii. Pl. LIX.
The scene on the left forms an exact pendant to the one just described. Here a lady similarly placed and attired is having her head shaved by a monk. Among the attendants behind her two ladies have their hair done in topknots with two high loops, whereas two others, evidently girls, wear it in a bunch on either side of the head with a short lock hanging from each. Behind appear bearers of the hexagonal palanquin with pagoda roof …
The central scene shows the adorning of a stūpa or Buddhist relic tower and presents points of distinct antiquarian interest. Its shape is cylindrical, with a low flat dome and a square base below. A three-tiered umbrella, hung with streamers and metal ornaments, surmounts it. Below workmen are seen engaged in arranging the draperies. Two long tables are laden with flasks, bowls, and other offerings, while bundles of manuscript rolls are placed at either side; they are all likely to represent votive gifts made at the time of consecration.
Plate X: Amitābhā with Attendants
The painting (Ch. liii. 001) which this Plate successfully reproduces … is a good representative of the small but interesting class of what may be designated as simplified Paradise pictures. We see in it Amitābhā enthroned on a lotus between Avalokiteśvara and Mahāsthāma, with two lesser Bodhisattvas in front and a row of well-individualized disciples behind. No lake is represented; but a comparison with the painting represented in the next Plate,
Amitābhā is seated with legs interlocked and his right hand raised in the usual vitarka-mudrā. His flesh is yellow shaded with red which has changed to a curious iridescent mauve; his hair a bright blue. His mantle, vivid crimson, is wrapped round both shoulders, its drapery reproducing all details of the arrangement which Graeco-Buddhist sculpture had borrowed from Hellenistic art and handed over to be stereotyped with hieratic convention in the Buddha figures of Central Asia and the Far East. The lotus, his seat, is raised on a high stepped pedestal and has its pink petals covered all over with beautiful floral scrolls in white, blue, and black. Similar rich scroll-work adorns the base of the pedestal and reappears on the canopy which hangs above the Buddha’s head, raised on two trees. Their stems are treated like jewelled poles, and their large star-shaped leaves are arranged in whorls enclosing conical clusters of red fruit. An Apsaras sweeps down on either side, scattering flowers; her floating garments and the gracefully curling clouds which support her express rapidity of movement.
Avalokiteśvara and Mahāsthāma occupy well-designed, if less ornate, lotus seats, the former raising a flaming jewel in his left hand and the latter an alms-bowl. Among the multicoloured jewellery with which they are bedecked, the Dhyāni-buddha set in front of the tiara may be mentioned. Below them are seated two lesser Bodhisattvas, in similarly rich dress and adornment, the one, in profile, holding a red lotus, the other, in three-quarters profile, a flask. Their foreshortened elliptical haloes in green and the transparent light blue stoles deserve notice.
 A particularly interesting element is introduced into the celestial company by the six disciples ranged behind the triad, three a side in ascending tier. They all have the shaven heads of monks and plump solid features; but their alert faces are well individualized and the expression markedly varies, from the jovial smile of the second figure on the right to the serious and even severe look of the last on the left. It is specially regrettable here that, as in so many of our paintings, the cartouches above the different divine figures have not been filled in. The red lotus bud carried by the last disciple on the left and the priest’s staff in the hand of the corresponding figure on the right do not help to identify them, nor do the cross-bars on their mantles. The haloes of all these figures, including those of the triad, are only outlined in narrow rings of red and white, the interior being shown as practically transparent – not a usual treatment.
Below Amitābhā’s lotus seat, and partly covering the front of its pedestal, is the panel for the dedicatory inscription, in the form of a stone slab with a low arched top, carried on the back of a tortoise. Unfortunately the dedication was never inscribed, and we are thus left without means for exactly dating this interesting picture. But very valuable help in this direction is afforded by what remains of the figures of the donors in the bottom corners. That of the man on the right is lost, except for the top of his cap. But that of the wife kneeling on the left is complete and a figure of great charm. It is manifestly a portrait, painted with considerable skill, and was deservedly chosen by M. Petrucci for full-size reproduction in the Vignette of the [original] publication.
The lady kneels on a mat, her hands holding a long-stemmed red flower. The pose and face admirably express pious devotion. The delicate treatment of the features distinctly recalls that of female heads in a silk painting, unfortunately very fragmentary, which I recovered in 1915 from a seventh-century Chinese tomb at Turfan. The lady’s costume, with its pleated skirt high under the arms, small bodice with long narrow sleeves, and little cross-over shawl, as well as her hair plainly done in a small knot on the neck, represent a fashion distinctly older than that to be seen in the donatrices’ figures of our earliest dated picture (see Pl.
This chronological observation lends special interest to a notable point of technique, the use of ‘highlights’ to bring out the modelling of the flesh, in addition to ordinary colour shading. This is very conspicuous in the faces of the monkish disciples, and equally striking also in most of the figures in Plate
Plate XI: A Paradise of Amitābhā
In this large and on the whole fairly [well] preserved silk painting (Ch.
 Amitābhā, closely draped, raises his right hand in the vitarka-mudrā, while his left, mostly destroyed, is held against the breast. His flesh is yellow, as usual, his hair grey with outlines and close curls indicated in black as if copied from statuary. On either side of him is an elaborately decorated pillar with a flaming jewel at the top. Two trees with leaves as already described in Plate
Similar trees carrying many-tiered canopies rise over Avalokiteśvara seated on the left and Mahāsthāma on the right. Two attendant Bodhisattvas, in equally rich attire as theirs, stand by their sides with hands in varying poses. The flower-spotted materials of the Bodhisattvas’ robes and the graceful figure of the attendant to Avalokiteśvara’s right may be noted. At the back of the triad a wall of many-coloured marble blocks bounds the lake. In the air above descend Buddhas seated on clouds; cleverly drawn figures of naked infants, representing reborn souls, float with outspread stoles, while beribboned musical instruments symbolize harmonies pervading space.
On the lake swim ducks, emblems of happiness, and oval lotus buds rise enveloping infant souls. Inscriptions beside the lotuses describe the rank taken by the soul in its new life. There is no altar before the Buddha, as in other Paradise scenes, no dancer or musicians, no celestial mansions. But a sacred vessel is borne on a lotus from the water before Amitābhā and small Bodhisattvas kneel on either side. In front of them again, on a wooden platform, are grouped a two-headed Garuḍa, a phoenix, duck, crane, and peacock.
On the terrace which fills the whole foreground are seated Bodhisattvas four a side and well spaced. By the rail in front are two half-naked infants, no doubt newly born souls, one advancing slowly, the other dancing or running. Both hold flowers or berries and have, like the infants in the sky, their heads shaved except for a two-lobed tuft of hair over the forehead and one over each ear. These two-lobed tufts of hair recall those shown on the heads of the angels and putti in the wall-paintings of the shrines excavated by me at Mīrān; see Serindia, Figs. 134, 138, 140; Plates XL, XLI. Between them and the Bodhisattvas are shown large flaming jewels on lotuses.
In the middle by the side of a slab, arched at the top and intended for a dedicatory inscription but left blank, are shown the small figures of the donors. On the right kneel two men with long belted coats and small lobed and tailed caps. Their attire bears close resemblance to the quasi-archaic dress in the Jātaka scenes as presented by our banners, and also to that in certain relievos of the early Buddhist cave shrines of Yün-kang and Lung-mên. Cf. Serindia, p. 850 sq.; also below, p. 23. The costume and coiffure of the lady kneeling on the left agree exactly with those of the donatrix seen in the preceding Plate and the Vignette. As regards the chronological evidence which these details of attire afford, I may refer to my remarks on that Plate. [See the description above, under Plate X].
With the picture reproduced in Plate
There is a general absence of vivid colours in our picture. Dull green, with grey and black for the tiled terrace in front, prevails in the background, and dull green, light pink or red, and greenish grey in the colouring of figures and accessories. This quiet and coolness of colouring and a certain emptiness of the background give an effect of air and space which such crowded compositions as the Paradise seen in Plates
Plate XII: Scenes from Gautama Buddha’s Life
This and the following Plate, together with Plate
This group of paintings is as well defined in style as it is in range of subjects and external arrangement. Everything in the scenes connected with the physical types of the actors, their costumes and movements, as well as the setting, whether architecture or landscape, appears here ‘translated bodily into Chinese’, to use Mr. Binyon’s graphic phrase. The traditional subjects of the historical Buddha’s life-story have in fact, as M. Foucher has with equal pregnancy put it, ‘undergone the same disguising transformation which Christian legend has under the hands of the Italian or Flemish painters.’ Cf. Serindia, p. 848. It contrasts strikingly with this, that the figures of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, in our banners and large paintings alike, show close conformity in physical appearance and dress to the hieratic types derived from the Graeco-Buddhist art of Gandhāra. For possible explanations of the very interesting problem thus raised reference to Mr. Binyon’s ‘Introductory Essay’ will suffice here.
Notwithstanding their frankly Chinese style, the banners with scenes from Gautama Buddha’s life show considerable diversity of composition and treatment. We note these variations all the more easily because the banners range themselves into small groups, one alone not affording sufficient room for a representation of even the most important incidents of the life. Two banners of such a group, each with only two scenes preserved out of the four which the original, no doubt, once comprised, are shown in Plate XII on the left and right. Both banners have the same decorated borders along the sides and between the several scenes, and both have cartouches, here fortunately filled with Chinese inscriptions naming the subjects represented.
The banner … (Ch. lv. 0016) shows us two of the famous ‘Four Encounters’ which bring before Prince Gautama’s eyes the three evils of earthly life – old age, illness, and death, and the means to escape them by renunciation. We find them all represented already in the fifth-century relievos of Yün-kang, while strangely enough they have not yet been found among the Gandhāra sculptures. Cf. Serindia, p. 850; Chavannes, Mission archeologique en Chine, i. Planches 207-10. Above we see the prince riding out of the green-tiled gateway of the battlemented courtyard wall of his father’s palace. Over it is shown a pavilion with red timber framework and greenish-blue roof. The red-maned well-drawn horse represents the Kanthaka of the legend. A courtier in flowing robes with a high black cap attends him on foot. Before him under a tree is shown the bent figure of the old man leaning upon a stick and wearing on his head a black hood. Another man, who stands by his side and evidently supports him, has the black lobed and tailed cap to which reference has been made above as the head-dress worn by the donors of our oldest Tun-huang paintings. It is that of all common personages in our Jātaka scenes. The high conical headdress of the courtier is found also in the above-quoted relievo panels of Yün-kang. Cf. Serindia, p. 849, note 18. Prince Gautama himself in the scenes of both our banners here wears a head-ornament resembling a white lotus.
 In the scene below we see the prince riding with bent head from the same palace gateway. Here it is shown on the right, and its interior timber frame clearly displayed. The courtier by his side, attired as above, approaches with compassionate expression the group on the left. Here under a tree is seen sitting upon the ground the sick man, supported by a friend in a red dress, while another in green offers him drink in a bowl. The emaciation of his body and of his arms spread upon his knees is shown with realistic skill.
In the companion banner on the right (Ch. xlix. 006) the lower scene, composed in exactly the same style, represents Prince Gautama as a child discoursing on his anterior lives to civil and military officers, as the accompanying inscription tells us. The future Buddha sits on a verandah of the palace, holding out his arms evidently in the act of reciting his Jātaka tales. In front of him kneels a man, in black cap and orange belted coat, holding a manuscript roll. On the ground below stands a bearded personage wearing the dress of a civilian dignitary; he also carries a roll in his hands, which are covered by the wide sleeves of his robe. Two persons stand behind the prince outside the verandah. One in the dress of an attendant carries in his arms a round receptacle filled with small objects no longer recognizable. The other, wearing a tall round black cap, a brown mantle, and white under-robe, grasps with his right hand what from the gesture seems to be the hilt of a sword, and may hence be taken as representing the military element in the royal entourage.
The seated figure of Buddha seen in the upper panel illustrates what has been said above about the close adherence to the models derived from Gandhāra art in the delineation of divine figures which stand outside Gautama’s life-story before his attainment of Buddhahood. This representation of the Buddha in our banner reflects Indian hieratic tradition in every detail. He is shown seated on a large scarlet lotus, with the left hand raised in the attitude of ‘protection’ (abhaya-mudrā). This is against the fixed iconographic convention of Indian tradition which shows the right hand raised and the right shoulder uncovered by the under-robe. The explanation may be sought for in the fact that in the case of banners both sides of the silk gauze had to be painted. Here and in the Buddha of the banner in the middle of the Plate we have obviously cases of a mistake made by the artist as to which side was to be treated as the one intended for contemplation and properly finished. A crimson under-robe, with light blue lining, covers legs and right shoulder, while a brown mantle lined with light green is thrown over the bare left. The finely drawn face, with arched black brows and level eyes, shows no trace of Chinese influence. Throughout the drawing is firm and clear in the smallest details and the workmanship very delicate.
The banner reproduced [here] (Ch. 0071) has survived only in badly broken fragments, but even thus claims attention for several qualities. Though of the topmost scene little else remains but the figure of the seated Prince Gautama, it can, on the strength of other closely corresponding scenes, be safely recognized as representing the farewell in the forest from his horse Kanthaka and its groom Chandaka, Cf. Serindia, p. 858, and the reproduction of the banner, Ch. lv. 0012, Pl. LXXV. after the prince’s flight from his father’s palace. Lower down we are shown in an excellently composed scene the pursuit of the mounted messengers sent by his father Śuddhodana to search after him in the forest. The group of five horsemen with heads turned towards each other as if baffled as to the track to follow are plunging behind a forested hill to the left. The drawing of men and horses is very spirited and the movement of both vividly expressed.
In the bottom scene we may recognize with some probability a representation of the First Sermon in the Deer Park of Benares. Śākyamuni, in Buddha robes, with halo and vesica and gilded flesh, is seated on a lotus upon a chased throne. Over him hangs a draped canopy supported by a pair of red-flowering star-leaved trees just as Paradise pictures show them. Of three monks standing behind the throne the shaven heads are visible. In front kneel the audience – three men with high topknots and gay party-coloured jackets and long under-robes. With their faces raised towards the Enlightened One they seem to listen intently to his teaching. Throughout the colouring is ornate and carefully applied in illuminating style.
Plate XIII: Scenes from the Buddha Legend
The banner reproduced [here] (Ch. xx. 008) belongs to a well-defined series of banners, all of the same style and workmanship, illustrating scenes from the story of Gautama Buddha. Cf. Serindia, p. 947 (sub Ch. 0039). The scenes are all simple in design and divided from each other by low hill ranges. Their number in our banner is only three, as shown also by the three cartouches, all left blank.
The top scene shows King Śuddhodana seated on the verandah of his palace and giving instructions to the mounted messenger to be dispatched in search of Prince Gautama after his flight from the palace. The figure, short and squat, of the messenger is characteristic of the whole series; that of the horse, compact and heavy in build, suggests a type like that of the present Mongol pony. ln the next scene we see the messenger engaged on his quest, carrying a red pennon and galloping to the left. The rapid movement of the horse, here bay with red spots and white mane and tail, is effectively rendered.
The scene below represents the messenger returning and reporting to the king the futility of his search. ŚUDDHODANA is seen as before seated on the palace verandah while two musicians outside beguile him with flute and pipe. Further down in the foreground are shown an enclosure, containing a lotus tank and a bamboo tree, and outside its entrance a small hexagonal structure with an oblong yellow object within. Higher up kneels a white-coated man playing on clappers. The significance of the objects in the foreground is not clear. The drawing, though rough, shows vigour, and the general effect is bold and in the more active scenes full of character.
On the left of this banner is reproduced, what remains of the left-hand portion of an interesting but unfortunately much-damaged large painting on silk (Ch. 0059). The colour of the original is remarkably strong and the subject unusual. It represented, when complete, the figure of Śākyamuni standing erect in the grotto of the Vulture Peak (Gṛdhrakūṭa), famous in the story of the Buddha, and by his side Jātaka scenes of a type not met with elsewhere among our paintings and so far unidentified. Though only the right shoulder and arm of the Buddha figure survive, there can be no doubt about its iconographic character. The rocks, dark blue and brown, which appear piled behind and above, with the vulture perched on the top, would render this quite certain.
The identification is fully confirmed by the pose of the Buddha. The arm hanging stiffly downwards at full length and slightly away from the body, with fingers also stretched straight down, is seen again in the central Buddha of the great embroidery picture of Plate
A disciple with shaven head, probably Śāriputra, stands by the side of Śākyamuni and turns towards him. He shows an unconventional type of features drawn with much vigour. The head is long and high at the back, with well-defined ‘corners’ there and over the forehead. The large nose, bushy eyebrows, and long pointed chin give a strongly marked character to the head. It is set off by a circular halo of brilliant vermilion. The costume, too, is peculiar; it consists of an under-robe of vermilion and light green, black shoes upturned at the toes, and a large mantle of mottled dark green, blue, and red, which covers both shoulders and arms.
The legendary scenes which appear on the side of the painting are preserved in a very fragmentary condition and still await interpretation. [They are generally identified now with an iron image of the Buddha in India that lost its head, which was eventually replaced]. But that they are connected with a statue representing Śākyamuni on the Vulture Peak seems clear. In the background of the top scene there appears a statue of a Buddha in the same pose as the central figure, with the right arm stretched down stiffly. To the left, in front of a building (temple?), stands a shaven priest, pointing out the statue with his raised arm to passers-by below. In the foreground is seen a man in brown coat and top boots riding a mule with its legs hidden behind hilly ground. Behind him a white elephant, with a load of yellow objects, but rider or driver no longer visible, proceeds in the same direction to the left. On that side appear the roughly drawn figures of two men with black beards and shocks of black hair.
The next scene below is even more puzzling. ln the middle are seen a pair of colossal hands rising from the ground and enclosing a human head in red. To the right four conical objects, suggesting tents and striped horizontally, form a row; a large vermilion pennon is shown above one of them. Behind them a man on a dark grey horse is seen riding rapidly. His right arm is raised as if to strike, and two mounted attendants follow him. The foreground to the left shows on a green slope a row of unexplained leaf-shaped objects, and above this two semi-naked figures incomplete.
Very curious is the bottom scene. The God of Thunder appears above on a cloud within a ring of drums which he beats in violent movement. In the centre, before a background of rocks, is shown a large Buddha statue within a scaffolding of vermilion poles. That the statue represents Śākyamuni on Gṛdhrakūṭa is made certain by the downstretched right arm and also by the characteristic pose of the left hand, which gathers up the drapery in an ‘ear’ at the breast, just as the figure in Plates
For a conjectural explanation of the scaffolding, which might be connected with some miraculous translation of a sacred statue, reference to Serindia must suffice here. Cf. Serindia, p. 880. But whatever the legend represented in our side scenes may prove to be, we cannot fail to note the striking contrast between the stiff hieratic image and the life and vigour in the rest of the picture.
Plate XIV: Images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
The large but unfortunately poorly preserved silk painting (Ch. xxii. 0023), of which this Plate reproduces remains of the left-side portion … presents exceptional iconographic interest. It shows numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images arranged in separate compartments and drawn in an Indian style which is unmistakably derived from the Graeco-Buddhist art of Gandhāra. As first recognized by M. Petrucci from the few Chinese inscriptions still legible in the cartouches, See Petrucci, Annales du Musée Guimet, XLI. pp. 121 sqq. the figures were intended to reproduce sculptured images worshipped at various sacred sites of India. Eleven of them appear in the portion of the painting as shown by the Plate, and seven more are traceable partly above this portion or in detached fragments. Plate LXX of Serindia shows the left half of the painting as originally opened out and mounted at the British Museum. As regards certain slight modifications of the arrangement effected in the course of the final mounting and now seen in our Plate, the detailed description of the painting in Serindia, pp. 1024 sqq., may be referred to. In the case of six the characteristic poses or attributes enable us at present to identify with certainty the particular  divinity which the original images were intended to represent. For others definite clues have yet to be searched for.
The figure in the top corner on the left reproduces an image of Gautama Bodhisattva, seated in the famous scene of Māra’s attack immediately preceding the Illumination. This is shown by the characteristic pose of the hand touching the rocky seat (bhūmisparśa-mudrā) and by the triple monster head forming a crown over the Bodhisattva’s head and symbolizing the demon army of Māra. It was in that pose that the miraculous image at the sacred site of Bodh-Gaya, described at length by the great Chinese pilgrim Hsüan-tsang and still traceable in numberless replicas, presented Śākyamuni at the moment of Enlightenment. The identification of our figure with this far-famed image is confirmed by the Chinese inscription placed against it which describes it as a statue in the kingdom of Magadha. In the figure now seen in the top right-hand corner we meet again with a Bodhisattva seated in the bhūmiśparśa-mudrā. His robe is like that of a Buddha and red. Two white crescents are shown within the nimbus, which, like the vesica, is flame-edged. Here, too, a fortunate chance has preserved the accompanying inscription from effacement. According to M. Petrucci it mentions as the original a silver image preserved in the kingdom of Kapiśa, which corresponds to the region of the present Kabul. Cf. Petrucci, Annales du Musée Guimet, xli. p. 122. The figure at the first opening of the picture at the British Museum was found as a detached fragment. To its left upper edge there adhered the inscribed cartouche subsequently, on mounting, inserted in the blank space between the two standing figures at the bottom; cf. Serindia, p. 1025 sq.
Iconographic indications define four more of the images represented. The figure in the middle of the topmost row shows the statue of a Buddha standing with the right hand raised in the pose of ‘Protection’ and surrounded by an elliptical vesica which is filled with rows of small Buddhas standing in the same pose and visible from the breast upwards. The whole agrees in all details, down to the folds of the drapery, with two colossal stucco relievo statues excavated by me in 1901 on the southern corner walls of the great Rawak Vihāra of Khotan. See Ancient Khotan, i. 493, Figs. 62-4. Of these and similar representations on a much smaller scale in Gandhāra relievos M. Foucher has proved that they are meant to exhibit Śākyamuni in the act of performing the Great Miracle of Śrāvastī. Cf. Foucher, Beginnings of Buddhist Art, p. 172. In another standing figure, the one on the right of the middle row, the introduction of a pair of gazelles or deer into the ogee top of the vesica proves that an image representing Śākyamuni in the Deer Park of Benares, the scene of the First Sermon, is intended. The richly adorned standing figure of a Bodhisattva in the bottom row, holding the characteristic emblems of the lotus and flask, is certainly an Avalokiteśvara, and the presence by his side of various small attendant figures may yet help to the exact identification of the image intended.
Special iconographic interest attaches to the standing Buddha figure in the right-hand bottom corner of the Plate. Its hieratic pose of peculiar stiffness, the treatment of the drapery and what remains of the background, of speckled rocks, leave no doubt as to the identity of the figure with the image of Śākyamuni on the Vulture Peak, which is represented in striking similarity also by the fine painting of Plate
The rigid adherence in details to a common original model which is proved in this particular case supports confidence in the general fidelity with which the other figures, too, in our painting may be assumed to reproduce the original images represented. A close parallel is furnished by the miniatures in certain Nepalese manuscripts of the eleventh  century which illustrate various sacred images and shrines of Buddhist India. M. Foucher has conclusively proved that their painters, in all that concerns essential points, have always been at pains to reproduce faithfully the stereotyped models furnished by long-continued traditional imagery. Cf. Iconographie bouddhique, i. 40 sqq.
In what form our painter had received the types he thus conventionally reproduced is uncertain. But the clearly preserved Graeco-Buddhist style shows that they were indirectly derived from Gandhāra, and early transmission through Central Asia is obviously most probable. The question may be hazarded whether the votive object aimed at in the painting and its assumed prototype was not that of securing the religious merit which might have attached to an actual pilgrimage to those distant sacred sites. The drawing in mere outlines with little or scarcely any colour, similar to the technique of certain Khotanese mural paintings, and the perished state of whole portions of the silk seem to point to the painting being of early date.
Plate XV: Two Forms of Avalokiteśvara
The predominant share which the Bodhisattvas claim in popular Buddhist worship as developed under Mahāyāna influences is illustrated by the fact that about one-half of our Ch’ien-fo-tung paintings are devoted to their representation, whether singly or along with attendant divinities. However large may be in devout speculation the number of different Bodhisattvas, popular imagination had already in the North-Indian home of the Mahāyāna system been concentrated upon a small select group of Bodhisattvas. Among them Avalokiteśvara, the Bodhisattva of Mercy, occupies the foremost place, and the frequency of his representations among our Tun-huang paintings is just as marked as the popularity of his female manifestation, known to the Chinese as Kuan-yin, to the Japanese as Kwannon, the Goddess of Pity, is in modern Buddhist worship throughout the Far East.
The large and fairly well-preserved painting (Ch. xxxviii. 005), reproduced … in Plate XV, presents two almost life-size figures of Avalokiteśvara standing erect and facing each other. Their outer hands are raised in the vitarka-mudrā, while the Bodhisattva on the left carries in the other hand a yellow flower, and the one on the right a flask and a willow sprig. These are well-known attributes of Avalokiteśvara. See Plates XIX, XXIX, XLI. Which of his many particular forms are intended may be determined from the inscribed cartouche above, of which no translation is as yet available.
The figures, drawn with much care and painted in a wealth of harmonious colours, reflect a certain grandeur of design which breaks through the hieratic conventions of pose and externals. Except for the oblique eyes these conventions are all unmistakably Indian in type and origin. But equally clear is the change, here seen in highly perfected technique, which their treatment has undergone by the eyes and hands of Chinese painters. We notice their distinctive touch quite as much in the grace and dignity of the features as in the mastery of sweeping line with which the rich robes of the Bodhisattvas are treated. The features are finely drawn and delicately shaded with pink; the ears are elongated and show hieratic convention in a particularly striking fashion. The fine drawing of the shapely hands curiously contrasts with the clumsy foreshortening of the feet.
Dress, coiffure, and jewellery are of the elaborate style, often displayed by our Bodhisattva banners; For the willow-spray symbol cf. below, Plate
Plate XVI: Four Forms of Avalokiteśvara
This well-preserved large silk painting (Ch. lv. 0023) … offers special interest. For a reproduction in colours, but on a much smaller scale, see Desert Cathay, ii. Plate VIII. It is the oldest exactly dated painting in the Collection, the dedicatory inscription below indicating the year corresponding to A.D. 864. It also combines in a curious fashion hieratic conventions of Indian origin, such as prevail in the row of four Avalokiteśvara figures ranged stiffly side by side in the upper half, with the more Chinese and more animate treatment of others in the lower half. There the Bodhisattvas Samantabhadra and Mañjuśrī are represented in procession advancing towards each other on lotus seats carried by their respective ‘Vāhanas’, the white elephant with six tusks and the lion, and accompanied by their attendants, just as we have already seen them in the more sumptuous compositions of Plates
In contrast to these two Bodhisattvas, always easily identified, only the short Chinese inscriptions by the side of the four Avalokiteśvaras above can tell us which particular form of this most popular Bodhisattva is to be recognized in each figure. Cf. M. Petrucci’s readings, Serindia, p. 1416 sq. All are practically alike in pose and dress except for some minor differences. All carry a red or red and white lotus in one hand, and all, except the Avalokiteśvara on the extreme left, a flask in the other. The dress comprises a long reddish-pink under-robe girt round the waist and reaching to the feet; a short tight upper skirt and a deep plastron passing over breast and shoulders. On the upper arms are close-fitting sleeves, half covered by armlets. Pink drapery hangs behind the shoulders and a narrow stole of green and red passes round them; thence it winds stiffly about the arms and ripples to the ground. The figure of the Dhyāni-buddha Amitābhā appears on the tiara.
In all the details just mentioned these Avalokiteśvaras attach themselves to a class of Bodhisattva figures, largely represented among our banners, which reproduce characteristic Indian conventions in physical type, dress, pose, and flesh colouring with sufficient closeness to deserve the general designation of ‘Indian’. For specimens of this ‘Indian’ type of Bodhisattvas see Plates XXI, XXII; for detailed references concerning banners of this type, particularly numerous among those on linen, cf. Serindia, p. 862. Their juxtaposition with the more ‘Chinese’ Bodhisattvas in the lower half of our painting is instructive as helping to bring out the distinctions of the two types.
In the narrow panel below we see ranged on either side of the dedicatory inscription  the donors and their ladies. The Chinese inscriptions attached to them acquaint us with their persons. Cf. M. Petrucci’s notes, Serindia, p. 1398. On the right kneels the father attired as a monk with his three sons kneeling in secular dress behind him. On the left are shown two nuns, members of the family, and behind them two ladies, wives of two of the sons. To the interest presented by the costumes of the secular figures I have had already occasion to allude. [See the description above, under Plate VII]. The fashion represented in the dress and coiffure of the two ladies is particularly instructive as affording indications for the approximate dating of other paintings which show donatrix figures. The moderate width of the sleeves and the absence of ornaments in the head-dress distinguish this fashion of A.D. 864 very strikingly from that presented by the donatrices in tenth-century pictures. On the other hand, we see on the men’s heads the wide-brimmed black hats of the latter side by side with a stiff black cap of a manifestly earlier type.
Plate XVII: Avalokiteśvara in Glory
The large silk painting (Ch. lvi. 0019), reproduced in this Plate … may rank among the richest of the Collection in respect of decorative effect and colouring, and fortunately has survived in very fair preservation. It represents Avalokiteśvara in his thousand-armed and eleven-headed form, surrounded by numerous groups of divinities constituting his ‘Maṇḍala’. The scheme is repeated on somewhat simpler lines in another fine painting, shown by Plate
In the centre of the painting we see Avalokiteśvara’s large figure surrounded by a nimbus-like disc. This is formed by his outer hands making up the theoretical number of a thousand, and each showing an open eye marked on the palm. Avalokiteśvara’s thousand arms, arranged in this fashion, are well known, too, to the later Buddhist iconography of India and meant to symbolize the merciful divinity’s desire to save all human beings at the same time. The Bodhisattva is shown seated on a lotus and under a richly tasselled canopy. His inner hands, apart from the four in front, hold a multiplicity of well-known sacred emblems, including the discs of the Sun and Moon, flasks of ambrosia, conch, willow spray, trident, Vajra, the Wheel of the Law, mace, &c. From the centre pair of inner hands a shaft of rainbow light streams upwards. His flesh is yellow, as usual, shaded with pink; his hair blue, of the same shade as the general background. Of the small subsidiary heads, two of demonic appearance are shown by the side of the ears and the rest in three tiers above the tiara.
Among the attendant divinities we see at the top of the canopy the Bodhisattvas of the Sun and Moon seated behind their five white geese and five white horses respectively. In the upper corners appear on finely painted clouds the ‘Buddhas of the ten quarters of the Universe’, arranged as all the attendant deities in symmetrical groups. Below them are seated pairs of Bodhisattvas with elaborate flower-decked haloes and nimbi. Beneath them come on the right Indra with three attendants, and on the left Brahman with two. All are shown kneeling and wearing Chinese official dress of a rich type. Beneath again are shown two monstrous divinities, both unmistakably Śivaitic. On the right Mahākāla  with three heads and six arms reclines on the back of Śiva’s bull. On the left Maheśvara, of demonic appearance, stands with legs apart upon a crocodile-headed snake; his middle hands grasp pike and cords which hold two half-naked humans.
Below the lotus seat of Avalokiteśvara are seen emaciated pretas or beings in hell clutching with outstretched hands at showers of white grains (ambrosia) which Avalokiteśvara pours on them. ln front of his lotus seat lies a tank in which stand two stalwart Nāgas upholding the stem of the lotus. They are in human shape, but carry above their heads a crest formed of five snake-heads, their ancient Indian emblem. Besides smaller Nāga figures of the same type the tank holds an infant soul (now almost destroyed) rising from a lotus.
The bottom corners are occupied on each side by a larger group of attendants. The central figure in each case is a four-armed female divinity of beneficent aspect, dressed like a Bodhisattva and seated on a bird. The one on the right rides on a phoenix and is followed by a Buddha. The female deity behind him is of interest, as from the children in her arms she may be recognized as the goddess Hāritī, whom a pious Indian legend represents as a wicked ogress converted into a patroness of children. See M. Foucher’s brilliant essay on ‘La Madone bouddhique’ in The Beginnings of Buddhist Art, pp. 285 sqq. The female divinity on the left is riding on a peacock, with two attendants behind her who in the absence of attributes or inscriptions remain unidentified. Lower down on either side are seen standing two Lokapālas, Kings of the Quarters, in armour, and in each of the bottom corners a demonic Vajrapāṇi, six-armed and serpent-decked, straddling against a background of flames. At the feet of each sits a smaller demon with a boar’s head. Before the Lokapālas and close to the edge of the tank are seated on the right an emaciated old man in ascetic garb, and on the left a richly-robed nymph offering flowers. Both these figures, described elsewhere as the ‘Sage of the Air (?)’ and ‘Nymph of Virtue’, are with particular clearness seen again in Plate
On the iconographic side the interest of this sumptuous presentation of Avalokiteśvara’s ‘Maṇḍala’ is obvious, were it only for the appearance in it of such Śivaitic deities as Mahākāla and Maheśvara. These aptly illustrate the influence which Hindu mythology, even in its later development, continued to exercise on the Buddhist Pantheon of Central Asia and the Far East. On the artistic side attention is claimed by the skill shown in the ordinance of the whole and the drawing of individual figures. But it is in particular the highly effective colour treatment which makes this picture rank with the most impressive in the Collection.
Plate XVIII: Avalokiteśvara Standing, with Willow Spray
It is to qualities very different from those of the preceding picture that the figure of a standing Avalokiteśvara (Ch. 0091), reproduced in Plate XVIII … owes its special charm. The silk painting has lost portions of its sides and the whole below the knees of the figure, and the colouring throughout has much faded. But the disappearance of paint helps to bring out more clearly the excellence of the design and the very delicate drawing of figure and features. With workmanship showing mastery of a fully established technique in details, the painting combines an air of individual feeling which makes its subject one of the finest single figures amongst our Ch’ien-fo-tung paintings.
Avalokiteśvara stands facing the spectator, with head erect but eyes downcast. His pose, with the weight thrown on the right hip and the body aslant to the left shoulder, is characteristically Indian. The head is that of a young man and shows marked influence of Gandhāra art in its features. The nose is long and straight, the brow high, and the eyes only slightly oblique. The moderately arched eyebrows sweep in a slightly recurved line  to the outer edge of the brow. The thinner cheeks and more natural proportion of the features give to the face a distinct individuality which those of the conventional semi-feminine Bodhisattvas lack. The expression is meditative and remote, the pose graceful and dignified at the same time. The right hand is raised in the vitarka-mudrā at the breast with a willow spray between the thumb and fingers; the left hanging by the side holds the flask and a twining spray with pink flowers.
The attire and head-dress are of the conventional style associated with the Bodhisattva type which has above been designated as ‘Chinese’. The Dhyāni-buddha Amitābhā is shown on the front of the tiara, which is a simple circlet ornamented with flaming jewels and long tassels at the ears. The hair done in double-leaf form appears above it. Instead of the under-robe a light red scarf is thrown over the breast. A stole of grey and olive green, much faded, clings to shoulders and upper arms and is festooned across the front of the figure. From the waist descends the skirt, apparently brown.
In the right lower corner appear two small figures kneeling and holding lotus buds. They represent evidently donors, a boy and a girl. The way in which their hair is dressed, the boy’s parted and tied in a double bunch on either side of the head and the girl’s parted and tied behind, is not usual in our paintings. The plain long-sleeved robes covering the figures from neck to feet afford no clue to the dating.
Plate XIX: Two Avalokiteśvaras with the Willow Spray
The Bodhisattva of Mercy presents himself again, standing and without attendants, in the two silk paintings which this Plate reproduces … In both the portion of the figure below the knees is lost. The [first] painting … (Ch. xxii. 0030) shows a good example of the Bodhisattva type which above we have referred to as ‘Chinese’, executed with much skill and refinement.
Avalokiteśvara, facing three-fourths to the right, raises the willow spray in his right hand, while the left at the waist carries the flask. The movement shown in the tassels of the canopy above the halo suggests that the figure was intended as walking; it is drawn particularly soft and full. The low forehead, full cheeks, small mouth and chin, and oblique eyes under highly arched eyebrows are characteristic of the type. The hair is black and descends in a love-lock by the ear. In front of the tasselled tiara stands the Dhyāni-buddha Amitābhā with the right hand raised in the pose of ‘Protection’. Above the skirt, which forms an overfall at the waist, is shown an under-robe rising only to the breasts. A stole of fine dull blue forms the chief note of colour in the picture. The jewellery is elaborate and plentifully studded with pale pink stones. The cartouche to the right is filled with a Chinese inscription containing a salutation to Kuan-yin.
In the other painting (Ch. lvi. 0016) Avalokiteśvara is shown facing three-fourths to the left with both arms raised from the elbows. His hands here, too, hold willow spray and flask, but in reversed order. The upper portion of the head is lost; what remains of the features, including the eyes fixed in a straight gaze to the front, shows delicate drawing. The flesh is white shaded with pink. Over a crimson under-robe and orange-red skirt descends in ample folds a stole of olive green. To the usual heavy jewellery is added a small string of beads round the neck. The workmanship is clean and sure.
Plate XX: Avalokiteśvara with Flame-Wreathed Halo
The fine silk painting (Ch. xviii. 003) … is a work of considerable artistic merit and is without a pendant in the Collection. It shows a standing Avalokiteśvara painted in a style which shows affinity to the ‘Indian’ type of Bodhisattva figures previously mentioned but has marked peculiarities of its own. The picture is complete, but the bare upper part of the figure painted with dull red outlines and comparatively faint pink colouring has unfortunately much faded, while the more solid and brilliant colours of the dress and jewellery are well preserved and in consequence now absorb a disproportionate share of attention.
Avalokiteśvara stands facing the spectator with his feet planted on the bright green centres of two open dark-pink lotuses. His face, turned slightly towards the right shoulder with eyes downcast, bears an expression of serious mildness, as if of comprehending pity. The hair about the forehead is shown in pale blue, the eyebrows light green. Eyelashes, pupils of eyes, and the dividing line of lips, being painted in black, stand out distinctly among the otherwise faded features. Both arms are raised at the elbow, the right holding the willow spray over the shoulder, while the left carries on the open palm a short flask of blue and pink. The dress consists mainly of brilliant scarlet sprinkled with small blue trefoils and tied at the waist with a narrow blue girdle. A green sash is also loosely knotted round the hips. A long narrow stole of dark pink lined with green winds round the body from the left shoulder and flutters about the arms. White draperies descend from behind the head and shoulders.
The head-dress consists of a gilded circlet with a ball over the forehead supporting the Dhyāni-buddha’s figure, and behind this of a tall cylindrical piece in dark pink and green surmounted by what may be meant for a topknot of hair but is now almost effaced. The rich jewellery is set with stones of bright scarlet, blue, and copper green, and hung with strings of pearls. A large greenish disc wreathed with scarlet flames forms a nimbus. Open lotus flowers are seen floating down in the air. The Chinese inscription in the left top corner describes the painting as the gift of a son in memory of his father, without recording the date of its dedication.
Plate XXI: Avalokiteśvara Standing
The figure of Avalokiteśvara which this Plate shows us … (Ch. liii. 005), well preserved except for the extreme top and bottom, shares with the Bodhisattvas of ‘Indian’ style characteristic features of physical type, pose, and dress. But the air of grace and gentleness which the Chinese painter has here infused into the formality of their conventions invests the figure with a peculiar charm and raises it well above their average level as a work of art.
We see Avalokiteśvara standing with the slender-waisted body inclined from the left shoulder and its weight thrown on the right hip in characteristic Indian pose. But the stiffness of this attitude, just as that of certain traditionally fixed details in the dress, is transformed by sweeping Chinese brush lines. The figure stands slightly to the left, with the eyes gazing down and the hands holding the usual attributes of the willow spray and the flask. The face is short and round, the mouth slightly larger than usual, with a tiny moustache and a tuft of beard indicated below by a small curl. The eyes are wide apart  and almost level, but with a finely recurved line added to the eyelids. The flesh is white shaded with red.
Over a long orange skirt, draped in conventional folds, the Bodhisattva wears a short and tight over-skirt of Indian red, sprinkled with blue and white rosettes. Over it is festooned a narrow cord-like band hanging in loops and streamers by the sides. The costume is completed by an olive-green girdle, a red scarf across the breast, and a narrow stole of dark chocolate colour descending from about the arms to the feet. The richly jewelled ornaments agree in general type with those seen on the four ‘Indian’ Bodhisattvas of Plate
Plate XXII: Two Avalokiteśvara Paintings with Donors
In both the silk paintings which this Plate reproduces … we see Avalokiteśvara represented in ‘Indian’ style and beside or below him the donors. ln the [first] picture … (Ch. liv. 006) the figure of the standing Bodhisattva is treated on very formal lines, typical of the ‘Indian’ style already repeatedly mentioned, and the colouring in bright crude tints solidly laid on is equally characteristic. Apart from the hieratic stiffness of the whole figure and pose it will suffice to call attention to such peculiar features as the narrow band descending from the head-dress to the knees and festooned in front of the body, and the loose locks of hair which hang over the shoulders. The hair is painted ultramarine, the flesh white and shaded with vermilion. The eyebrows raised disproportionately high over the almost straight eyes are, as often elsewhere, shown green. Avalokiteśvara stands on a large scarlet and white lotus which floats on a lake or stream. Behind him on green land is shown a row of tall bamboos filling the background.
To the left of the Bodhisattva appears standing the figure of the nun whom one of the Chinese inscriptions names as the donatrix, with a date corresponding to A.D. 910. See M. Petrucci’s explanations in Serindia, p. 1397. The other two inscriptions seem to contain metrical invocations of the all-merciful Kuan-yin. She wears a wide-sleeved yellow under-robe with flowered band across her breast and a purplish-brown mantle. Her close-cropped hair is shown in ultramarine, and her hands carry a censer. Opposite to her stands a boy offering a scarlet lotus on a dish; he wears a long-skirted dark brown coat slit at the side and showing wide white trousers underneath.
M. Petrucci recognizes in him the nun’s defunct younger brother, whom the dedicatory inscription associates with her votive gift.
The [other] picture … (Ch. xl. 008) is in perfect condition and represents Avalokiteśvara, six-armed and seated, together with side scenes and donors. His upper hands hold up discs emblematic of the Sun and Moon, showing a three-legged bird and a tree respectively; the middle hands are raised on either side of the breast in the vitarka-mudrā, while the lower hands with rosary and flask rest on the knees. ln front of him is placed a small draped altar with flasks and a covered dish. The Bodhisattva’s figure, within the limitations imposed by the conventional treatment, is very carefully drawn and the colouring well preserved and unusual. It consists mainly of terra-cotta red on the garments (excepting the stole, which is very dark brownish olive), and of white shaded with light pink on the flesh. A harsh yellow is used for the jewellery, while the ground throughout is left in the dark greenish-brown of the silk.
Down the sides are shown, in animated and expressive drawing of purely Chinese style, scenes representing Calamities from which Avalokiteśvara miraculously saves his  worshippers. For scenes somewhat similar, see the side of Bhaiṣajyaguru’s Paradise in Plate I. On the right above we see a man, naked except for a loin-cloth, threatened with having his head cut off. Lower down two men are fleeing with their arms over their heads, while a thunder-cloud in the sky, represented like a monstrous Nāga, showers black drops on them. Below a man stands calmly in a pyramid of flame into which another behind appears to have pushed him. On the left above a man is being pushed by another over a precipice; but half-way down he is seen again composedly seated on a cloud. The next scene shows a man kneeling in an arched recess with his head in a cangue, while in front of him are wooden instruments for fettering feet and hands. At the bottom stands a man looking calm although surrounded by a snake, scorpion, and an animal apparently meant for a tiger.
In the bottom portion of the painting are shown the donors, on either side of a cartouche intended for a dedicatory inscription. Their figures are drawn with much care and offer good examples of costumes belonging to the tenth century. Of the men on the right the one in front holds a censer and the other a lotus bud between his hands joined in adoration. On the left kneels a lady in a wide big-sleeved robe; her hair is held by a central framework and big pins, painted in pink and white, but lacks the usual flowers and leaves. Behind her stands a boy in long white trousers and a flowered pink and white tunic, with his hair parted and ornamented on the top by a big bow.
Plate XXIII: Six-Armed Avalokiteśvara with Attendant Bodhisattvas
The large silk painting (Ch. xxvi. 001) … was in its original condition a very fine composition, but has suffered much damage. The lower end has been destroyed by fire, the right edge is lost, and several large holes show where dark green paint has corroded the silk. Much of the colouring is gone; yet in spite of all these vicissitudes enough remains to prove the refined design of the whole and the sureness of the drawing.
The picture shows a six-armed Avalokiteśvara seated on a large white lotus in the attitude known as that of ‘royal ease’, with the right knee raised and the head inclined over the right shoulder. This characteristically ‘Indian’ pose corresponds to the slim-waisted body and the dress of [the] ‘Indian’ Bodhisattva type. It is only in figures of the latter that we find the flower-ornamented caps over the knees here seen. The upper hands with gracefully curved fingers are raised towards the head; of the middle ones the right is raised before the breast in the vitarka-mudrā, while the left is held below palm up; the lower hands hang down below the knees. No emblems are displayed, except the Dhyāni-buddha in the front of the tiara, which appears as a high solid cone of chased bronze.
The ornamentation of the circular halo and nimbus is very elaborate and effective. Vandyke and flower patterns fill the former, waving rays the nimbus. One continuous flame border outlines the free edges of both, while a broad band of white surrounds them and encloses the whole figure in a circle of light. A string of small flowers seen in profile defines the outer edge of this circle.
Above it is seen a canopy set with flaming jewels. On either side of this appears a small Bodhisattva seated on a lotus which grows on a twining stem. Two corresponding figures occupying the bottom corners are all but destroyed.
In the colouring different shades of red and green prevailed, together with white; but the last, as well as the yellow on Avalokiteśvara’s flesh, has been rubbed off in most places.
Plate XXIV: Two Paper Paintings of Avalokiteśvara
 The two pictures reproduced here both represent Avalokiteśvara and are painted on paper; but their interest varies greatly in character. The [first] (Ch. I. 009) … shows the Bodhisattva sitting by the water on a bank under willows. This representation of Avalokiteśvara is found only in one other picture of our collection and claims special iconographic interest because, as Mr. Binyon points out, according to Far-Eastern tradition ‘it was an Emperor of the Sung period who first in a dream saw’ Avalokiteśvara as he is here depicted ‘and commanded the dream to be painted; but, no doubt, the subject is of earlier origin.’ Cf. Mr. Binyon’s note in Guide to an Exhibition of Paintings, Manuscripts, and other Archaeological Objects collected by Sir Aurel Stein in Chinese Turkestan, British Museum, 1914, p. 12. We shall see below that in the case of Kṣitigarbha, too, the evidence of the Ch’ien-fo-tung paintings proves a certain iconographic type to have developed earlier than Japanese tradition would lead us to assume.
Avalokiteśvara, dressed and adorned in the style of an ‘Indian’ Bodhisattva, is seated with the right foot tucked under and the left pendent, resting on an open lotus which rises from the water. His right hand holds a willow branch and his left the usual emblem of the flask. The whole figure is enclosed in a large circular halo drawn in red outline. A group of conventional willow trees fills the right segment of the halo and rises above it. On the opposite side there appears above on a cloud the small-scale figure of a man in a Chinese magistrate’s robes and head-dress, kneeling with hands joined in adoration. Two boys wearing their hair in rolls behind the neck stand at his back. A draped canopy extends across the upper end of the picture. At its bottom, on the bank bordering the water, is shown an altar. Flanking it on the right appears the donor, carrying a censer and wearing the black coat and wide-brimmed hat characteristic of tenth-century male costume. Four cartouches distributed over the picture have remained uninscribed.
The drawing is careful and the execution superior notwithstanding the simplicity of the colour scheme, restricted mainly to scarlet, light blue, and pale green.
The [other] picture … (Ch. 0054) … has some interesting peculiarities. Above we see seated on a rectangular platform a Bodhisattva who from the attendant divinities and the emblem, a tall vase, held by the one to his right, may safely be assumed to represent Avalokiteśvara. His dress, coiffure, and accessories are those of Bodhisattva figures of the type above distinguished as ‘Chinese’. The decoration of the platform, which, as the lions’ heads appearing in pairs below within arched openings show, is meant for a siṁhāsana or ‘lion’s throne’, reproduces textile patterns manifestly influenced by ‘Sassanian’ models.
The presentation of only the left half of the god’s ‘Maṇḍala’ is an unusual feature but accounted for by the narrow shape of the painting, no doubt intended for a banner. It comprises below two Bodhisattvas standing in adoration, next a pair of haloed monks, above them two Lokapālas, and at the top a trident-carrying demon. One of the Lokapālas is characterized by his jewelled mace as Virūḍhaka, Regent of the South. To the right of the central deity and below the canopy three infants are shown kneeling on a cloud and playing on flute, mouth-organ, and clappers. Below them again and by the side of the large halo stands a small Bodhisattva, also carried on a cloud and clasping the tall vase already referred to. It is stoppered and mottled blue and white, obviously in imitation of glazed ceramic ware.
The lower portion of the painting is filled by a procession moving to the left and comprising a high Chinese dignitary in the centre and his numerous retinue. In this central figure, who is attended by two men holding crossed fans over his head and is obviously the donor, we may in all probability recognize one of those local chiefs who, as we know from Chinese historical notices and inscriptions, ruled the region of Tun-huang in the ninth and  tenth centuries as hereditary governors under the suzerainty of the Emperors. Cf. Chavannes, Dix inscriptions chinoises de l’Asie centrale, pp. 80 sqq.; Serindia, p. 1338 sq. This personage, over a trailing white under-robe, wears a black jacket ornamented with symbols in yellow, of which the discs emblematic of the Sun and the Moon, a pair of rampant dragons, and the Svastika can be made out quite clearly. He alone appears as a worshipper, and an elaborate head-dress of peculiar shape marks his high rank.
In his cortege we see officials wearing white under-robes and black jackets with various formal patterns of a stiff black head-dress. Three among them carry long swords before them, pointed downwards, while two hold rolls of paper. One of the latter, walking beside the chief, is represented as a mere boy and may perhaps be a son. Two others in somewhat different costume, including shirts of mail under shorter jackets, walk a little apart. The two fan-bearers are attired in short jackets and white trousers, and on the feet of the coarsely drawn figure to the right we notice string sandals of exactly the same type as attested by plentiful specimens among my finds from the Tun-huang Limes [outpost].
There can be no doubt that the lower portion of the picture, with its animated if rather rough drawing, represents a scene such as old Tun-huang must have often witnessed on ceremonial occasions. It is hence specially to be regretted that the absence of any dedicatory inscription leaves us in ignorance of the date and the particular local chief represented.
Plate XXV: Two Paintings of Kṣitigarbha
Both the paintings of this Plate represent Kṣitigarbha, Avalokiteśvara’s only possible rival in popularity among the Bodhisattvas of the Buddhist Pantheon of the Far East. Though well known in China as Ti-tsang and in Japan as Jizo, yet his early and frequent appearance among the Ch’ien-fo-tung paintings was something of a surprise, considering that neither in Indian nor in Central-Asian Buddhism does his figure play a prominent part. Among the Bodhisattvas represented in our banners he is always clearly distinguished by the shaven head of the monk and the barred or mottled mantle, the mendicant’s garment. See Serindia, p. 1338 sq. Other paintings help to illustrate the several aspects of his character which account for his still prevailing popularity in the Far East.
‘There he is still worshipped as one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas. Through countless incarnations he has been working for the salvation of living beings, and he is in especial honoured as the breaker of the powers of hell. With his pilgrim’s staff he strikes upon the doors of hell and opens them, and with the lustrous pearl which he carries he illustrates its darkness. He is represented as Lord of the Six Worlds of Desire, the world of the Devas or heavenly spirits, of men and women, of Asuras or demons, of beings in hell, of Pretas or devils, and of animals; and also as the supreme Regent of Hell with the Ten Infernal Kings or Magistrates under him.’ Cf. Mr. Binyon’s remarks in Guide to an Exhibition of Paintings, MSS., &c., collected by Sir Aurel Stein (British Museum, London, 1914), p. 7 sq.; also M. Petrucci’s account of Kṣitigarbha’s ‘Maṇḍalas’, Serindia, p. 1422 sq. The history of Kṣitigarbha’s cult in China and Japan forms the subject of a full and very instructive monograph, The Bodhisattva Ti-tsang (Jiza) in China and Japan, by Professor M. W. de Visser, with numerous illustrations (Oesterheld & Co., Berlin, 1915), to which reference may be made for all details.
It is in this last-named character that we see Kṣitigarbha represented in the large silk painting (Ch. 0021) which is reproduced on … Plate XXV. The Bodhisattva is seen seated on a rock covered with a figured cloth. His right foot rests on a lotus and the left is bent across. The left hand holds the mendicant’s staff over his shoulder, while the right, resting on the knee, supports a crystal ball. Over a green under-robe he wears a mantle of grey, mottled with black, red, and green, and barred with yellow. The traveller’s shawl, grey ornamented with a spot pattern in yellow, is bound round his head  and falls on his shoulders. Of the usual Bodhisattvas’ adornment only a jewelled necklace and bracelets appear. A multicoloured halo, edged with flames, forms the background to the figure, while above it hangs a canopy represented by flowered sprays and strings of jewels.
Down the two sides are ranged the ten Infernal Kings or Magistrates, seated at draped tables, on which scrolls of judgement are spread. Attendants wait on them in varying attitudes, taking instructions, delivering reports, holding fans, &c. With the exception of a fan-holder in demon shape, the attendants are all in secular Chinese dress. All the Judges but one wear Chinese magisterial costume: long under-robes, voluminous wide-sleeved coats of scarlet and white, and official head-dress in a variety of shapes, black, yellow, or white. The topmost Judge on the right is clad in full armour, with helmet and a coat of mail, fringed with tiger-skin, and reaching down to the feet.
ln front of Kṣitigarbha is seated a white lion, faced by a monk raising his hands in adoration to the Bodhisattva. Further in the foreground we see a condemned soul, naked except for a loin-cloth, and wearing the cangue, led by an ox-headed mace-carrying demon. In a magic mirror he is made to see the crime for which he has been condemned – the murder of an ox. A cloud above the mirror marks the scene as a dream. Beside the mirror stands an attendant holding brush and scroll.
The numerous cartouches scattered about have been left uninscribed, or have become illegible. The same is the case with those by the donors’ figures at the foot of the picture. Foremost on either side kneels a monk holding a censer. Behind the one on the right stands a boy attendant holding the fungus sceptre (ju-i), and behind him again kneels a man with the wide-brimmed black hat usual in tenth-century costume. The same chronological indication is furnished by the dress and coiffure of the ladies who are shown kneeling behind the monk on the left.
The [other] picture … (Ch. lviii. 003 … ) is complete with its border of purple silk gauze and suspension loops, and shows Kṣitigarbha in his character of Lord of the Six Worlds, or Gatis, and Patron of Travellers. He sits facing the spectator on a scarlet lotus in a pose which is the exact reverse of the one shown by Kṣitigarbha in the previously described painting. Thus the right hand holds the mendicant’s staff and the left the ball of crystal. The under-robe, shaded in red and green, is covered by a mantle of red and black inwoven on white ground and barred with black. Over his head and shoulders is thrown a grey shawl ornamented with yellow spots and having a scarlet border on which large flowers in green and white are figured.
On a flat-topped rock in front of the Bodhisattva, covered with an altar-cloth, is a large green bowl, containing an open lotus. On either side sits or kneels a Bodhisattva in adoring attitude.
From either side of Kṣitigarbha’s red and green halo rise three waving rays of scarlet; each of them carry small figures meant to represent the Six Worlds of Desire. They are on the right: above, a man for the World of Men; a deity supporting discs of the Sun and Moon, for the World of the Gods; a Preta amongst flames for the World of Hell. On the left the Bodhisattva-like figure at the top represents the World of the Asuras, or demigods; on the middle ray two representatives of the World of Animals are recognizable in spite of the broken condition of the silk, while below a devil with pitchfork and cauldron symbolizes the World of Demons.
At the bottom of the picture we see represented a stone slab bearing a dedicatory inscription and on either side of it two finely drawn figures of men and ladies respectively. Their costume and hair-dress furnish good examples of the type characteristic of donor figures of the tenth century. The inscription on the slab is dated in A.D. 963, and according to M. Petrucci records the dedication of the painting by a certain votary who prays for deliverance from long illness. He makes his offering also for the benefit of his departed parents and of two other relatives named in the cartouches by their sides.
Plate XXVI: Vaiśravaṇa’s Progress
 The excellently preserved painting (Ch. xxxvii. 002) which this Plate reproduces … presents to us the triumphant progress of Vaiśravaṇa, Guardian of the North and the principal of the Lokapālas, or Protectors of the Four Regions. The important position which the Lokapālas still enjoy in popular Buddhist worship of the Far East is clearly marked by the frequency of their representation among our Ch’ien-fo-tung paintings. This again fully agrees with the early origin of their conception as attested by Indian art and tradition, and with what numerous frescoes and sculptures brought to light by recent excavations in Chinese Turkestan show as to their popularity in Central-Asian Buddhism. For a brief summary of the facts bearing on iconographic history of the Lokapāla figures in their transition from India and Central Asia to China, cf. e.g. Serindia, pp. 870 sqq., where the principal authorities are indicated.
The foremost place among the Lokapālas of our paintings is occupied by Vaiśravaṇa, the Protector of the Northern Region. This is fully accounted for by the early Indian notion which identified this particular world-protector with Kubera, the Hindu god of wealth, King of the Yakṣas. A further reason may be sought in the special worship which Vaiśravaṇa as genius loci enjoyed at Khotan, a main seat of Buddhism in Eastern Turkestan and one in close relations with Tun-huang. See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 158, 252 sq. Apart from the frequent appearance of his figure in our banners, Vaiśravaṇa’s pre-eminent position is attested by the fact that, alone among the Protectors of the Regions, he is found in pictures attended by his demon host and in triumphant procession.
With one of these pictures, the small Kakemono-shaped silk painting reproduced in Plate
A long close-fitting coat of scale armour, The treatment of the scales, apparently represented the by three-armed crosses, is peculiar and differs from the several methods of scale armour which other Lokapāla figures (see e. g. Plate XLVII) usually display. But it is found again on Vaiśravaṇa’s armour in Plate XLV and may possibly be meant for a special kind of mail. coloured yellow with scarlet straps and border, reaches down below the knee. A leather skirt-piece ornamented with flowers is secured round the waist and hips, and below the coat floats out a long olive-green under-robe. A high three-leaved crown covers the head; its shape and the long streamers flying up from behind it distinctly suggest derivation from Persian models. There are more indications also of Iranian influence in details of this and other Lokapāla pictures; but this is not the place to discuss them. For some of such indications, see Serindia, pp. 871 sq., 874. Broad streamers of flame rise from Vaiśravaṇa’s shoulders and take the place of a nimbus.
There are points of interest also in the accoutrement of Vaiśravaṇa’s horse. Its head, which is very small in proportion to neck and body, is protected by a frontlet of scale-armour. Above the head-stall is fixed a pair of black and white feathers. The numerous pompon-like knobs or tassels which hang from the breast-band and crupper belong to a type of ‘horse-millinery’ which is well known from Buddhist paintings of Central Asia and India and is  characteristic also of the representation of chargers in Sassanian relievos. Cf. Herzfeld, Am Tor von Asien, p. 87. To the examples there quoted in note 141 may be added the painted panel from Dandān-oilik, D. vii. 5, shown in Ancient Khotan, ii. Pl. LIX. Passing reference may be made here also to the appearance of decorative motifs unmistakably borrowed from textiles of ‘Sassanian’ style on the Lokapāla’s dress and that of his horse.
In front of Vaiśravaṇa march two Yakṣas clad in what seems to be meant for mail armour and carrying red pennons. Behind him are seen moving other demon followers, all grotesque in appearance, and two with animal jaws, &c. They carry a large flag decorated with a peculiar check and vandyke pattern and a miniature Stūpa, both emblems associated with Vaiśravaṇa also in the picture of Plate
At the rear stand two human figures in Chinese secular costume, the man with a mitre-like head-dress and a roll in his hands, the fair-faced lady with hands joined in adoration and her hair done in the elaborate tenth-century fashion. Whether they are meant for the donors of the picture seems uncertain. The whole host is swept along on a cloud from Vaiśravaṇa’s mansion, represented by a Chinese pavilion in the left top corner, and moves across the sea, which is bounded in the background by a mountain range (Mount Meru) and in the foreground by cliffs. Infants, ducks, a shark-jawed monster’s head, and a nymph float here in the water between scarlet lotuses, while on the cliffs there appears a stag. Flowers are scattered in the air above.
The workmanship, while well finished throughout, shows an ease and boldness which befits the subject. The simplicity of the colour scheme, which is almost entirely confined to yellow, scarlet, and white on greenish-brown tints of the background, helps the eye to take in the rapidity of the movement represented.
Plate XXVII: Virūpākṣa and Mañjuśrī
The silk banner reproduced [here] … (Ch. 0040) presents a fine example of the banners showing Virūpākṣa, the Guardian of the West. Next to Vaiśravaṇa he is the most frequently portrayed of Lokapālas in our paintings, always clearly recognizable by his particular emblem, the sword. Like the rest of the ‘Four Great Kings’ shown in the banners Virūpākṣa stands on the back of a crouching demon serving as his ‘cognizance’ (vāhana) and representing the Yakṣas over whom he rules. A small curling cloud above his haloed head marks the whole as a vision. Both ends of the banner are broken and its accessories lost, but otherwise it is almost intact.
The figure, displaying force and dignity combined, belongs to a class of Lokapāla representations among our paintings which, from certain peculiarities in the style of treatment and in detail, may be distinguished as ‘Chinese’ from another suggesting closer affinity to a Central-Asian prototype. Representatives of both classes are seen in Plate
Our painting well illustrates certain characteristics of the former group in the three-quarter profile of the Lokapāla’s figure and the sweeping curve of pose, with the body thrown  out to the waist; in the freedom and movement imparted to the drawing mainly by the treatment of the flowing drapery; and in some minor peculiarities of armour and dress. Though Virūpākṣa’s face is quiet, without any distortion such as usually imparts a grotesque look to the Lokapālas of the ‘Chinese’ group, we note the oblique cut of the eyes which is peculiar to it, as well as other Chinese features.
The rich armour and dress with which the Guardians of the World are always depicted and the manifold variations in their details are obviously of considerable antiquarian interest and have been fully discussed elsewhere. See Serindia, pp. 873 sq., 939 sqq., &c. Questions closely bearing upon armour and costume such as our Lokapālas exhibit have been discussed with much critical learning by Dr. B. Laufer in his Chinese Clay Figures, Pt. I: Prolegomena on the History of Defensive Armour (Chicago, 1914). The painting in our Plate illustrates them with particular clearness. Virūpākṣa’s head is covered by a helmet made of scale-armour and strengthened with leather bands and a wide leather brim curling up at ear-level. That the scales represented on the helmet and elsewhere are meant for scales of lacquered hard leather is made highly probable by actual scale-armour remains of this kind brought to light by my excavations at sites in the Taklamakān and Lop deserts. See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. XVI, 374, 411; Serindia, pp. 246, 463 sqq. A lotus-shaped spike is fixed on the top with a recurved gold stem in front, supporting a plume. Beneath the helmet comes a gorget, apparently also of scale-armour, descending on to the shoulders.
From there down to the hips the body is protected by a coat of mail, made of round-edged scales overlapping downwards as far as the waist-belt and of oblong scales laced sideways beyond it. A strong corslet, supported by straps from the shoulders and fitted with ornamented metal discs over the breasts, is fastened across the chest. Below is fixed an upper belt, apparently of ornamented leather. The lower belt, of black leather, carries a centre-piece in the form of an elaborate beast’s mask. The coat of mail is finished off at the bottom by a short pleated frill, shown here in green, and above the elbows by what looks like a ruff made of petal-shaped scales. From within this protrudes swathed drapery of red and dark grey, as if of sleeves.
From beneath the mail coat descends in rich folds a red skirt with blue border and whitish lining, leaving the knees bare; also the ends of a long girdle, looped up in front, curl about the legs. These from below the knees are encased in greaves, probably made of stiff leather like the corslet. A row of metal clasps secures them in front, while a large disc of dark purple leather set with a central gold boss covers the calf. The greaves are finished off at the bottom by ankle-guards, in the form of a stiff ruff, apparently also of leather. Guards of closely corresponding shape protect the forearms. The feet are shod with plain sandals held by a single toe-and heel-strap. A greenish stole, hanging round the shoulders and festooned across the front of the body, completes the Lokapāla’s rich costume.
The nude demon underfoot is shaded blue and has a dog-like face; the hands on which he crouches are misshapen and a flame bundle rising from his head takes the place of hair.
The banner reproduced [here] (Ch. 0036 … ) represents the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī seated on his white lion and, apart from the lost accessories, is remarkably well preserved. Its style, in instructive contrast to that of the Lokapāla picture just discussed, provides a good example of the maintenance of Indian tradition in Chinese Buddhist art.
The Bodhisattva, whom we have met already in several of the previously discussed paintings, See above, pp, 12, 14 sq., 29. is seated on a scarlet lotus which a golden pedestal carried on the back of his ‘Vāhana’ supports. Mañjuśrī’s figure is entirely Indian in physical type, pose, and dress. With his right leg bent across and the left pendent and resting on a small blue lotus, he keeps his body inclined to the left proper. To the right hand stretched downwards in the vara-mudrā corresponds the pose of the head, which is bent over the right shoulder and balances the slant of the body. The left hand rests on the lotus-seat and holds a long-stemmed gracefully curving lotus. The body has feminine contours and is painted a dull pinkish yellow. The hair, light blue in colour, shows flat above the forehead and straggles down to  the shoulder in small ringlets. The face is round with small features and oblique eyes cast downwards.
The dress is just as characteristically Indian. It consists of a short crimson laṅgōṭī flowered with blue rosettes and a transparent skirt of purple gauze which drapes the legs to the ankles. A fold of this crosses the body from the left shoulder. Round the neck is thrown a narrow stole, green spotted with white, which, where it passes over the right fore-arm, takes the form of a ‘triple cord’, distinctively Hindu. The rich jewellery comprises heavy bracelets and anklets, serpentine armlets, ear-rings, and a double necklace from which hang green and blue lotus buds. A tiara of solid gold work, mounted with jewels, crowns the head.
Behind the figure appears a circular halo and behind the head a nimbus of elongated oval shape, both of variegated rings of colour. Above are seen the remains of a tasselled canopy waving with the lion’s advance.
The lion strides to the left with his head turned back and the mouth wide open as if roaring. His mane is represented by conventional curls in different colours. Red spots are shown on breast, jowl, and back of legs. From his breast-band and crupper hang heavy tassels and ornaments similar to those above noted on Vaiśravaṇa’s horse. The attendant who leads him by a red rope is shown as usually with very dark skin, coarse features, and bushy black hair, suggesting a negro. His dress consists of a narrow stole and a red and blue dhōṭī-like skirt, tucked up at the knees. He wears also jewellery of a simple kind.
The design of the whole is harmonious and instinct with life, notwithstanding the hieratic conventions of the subject borrowed from distant India, and the workmanship is very careful.
Plate XXVIII: Bust of a Lokapāla
In this Plate we see a fine fragment of a silk painting once over life-size (Ch. liv. 003) … showing the upper part of the body of a Lokapāla. From the bow between his arm and body and the arrow held in his hand we can safely recognize him as Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the Guardian of the East. The figure, preserved only from the bearded jaws down to the hip-belt, is standing three-fourths to the left, with the left hand outspread at the breast and holding that World-Protector’s special emblem, the arrow.
The King’s flesh is painted a tawny brown, the finely drawn and slightly parted lips deep crimson. The sweeping beard, which must have given to the face a particularly strong if not fierce expression, is black. The equipment is very rich and painted in a series of vivid colours, scarlet, orange, blue, mauve, green, and black. Profuse jewel or semi-naturalistic floral ornaments, the latter, no doubt, copied from textile designs, all painted in the same bright colours, cover the discs of the corslet, straps, borders, pedestals of the jewelled shoulder bosses, &c.
Of special interest is the representation of the armour. On the shoulders and skirt it consists of oblong scales overlapping upwards, as very often elsewhere in our paintings and also in relievos. For detailed references, cf. Serindia, p. 873; see also Ancient Khotan, i. pp. xvi, 252. But on the body it is represented by small interlacing black circles, on a white ground, manifestly intended for chain-armour. The coat of mail is finished on the top by a blue jewelled collar, probably of hard lacquered leather like the rest of the armour, lying back from the neck. White streamers falling on the breast from behind the ears show that the Lokapāla’s head bore a tiara, not a helmet.
Though the surviving part is only a fragment, with edges broken all round, enough remains to show that with its vigorous drawing, fine workmanship, and brilliant colouring, the whole must have been a very effective picture.
Plate XXIX: Two Dharmapālas and a Bodhisattva
Among the silk banners reproduced in this Plate … two … (Ch. liv. 002 on the left and Ch. 004 on the right) show us Dharmapālas, or ‘Protectors of the Law’. These divinities are conceived as forms of Vajrapāṇi in fury and are still favourite figures in the Buddhist imagery of the Far East. Originally derived from the ancient Gandhāra representations of the thunderbolt bearer (Vajrapāṇi), they meet us already in the sixth-century relievos of the Lung-mên grottoes in China. For reference to works of MM. Chavannes, Foucher, Grünwedel-Burgess, see Serindia, p. 875, note 45. They show there those poses and that exaggerated development of the muscles which, together with other grotesque features, remain characteristics of the type exhibited in a more or less conventionalized form by the Dharmapāla figures in the paintings and sculptures of Tun-huang. These figures, as M. Foucher has justly observed, ‘already make us think of the athletic demons of Japan’.
Like the rest of our Dharmapāla paintings, the two banners reproduced here are but slightly distinguished from each other in type and may hence be briefly described together. They are excellently preserved and complete, with head-piece and streamers at bottom, which, however, from consideration of space are omitted in the Plate. Both Dharmapālas have the muscular body in tense attitude, the grotesque head with its furious downward look, and the large richly ornamented Vajra representing the thunderbolt. They stand slightly to one side with the feet planted apart on two lotuses and the head turned back over the shoulder. There is a difference in the pose of the arms and hands. ln the banner on the left the Dharmapāla raises his right arm with the hand open threateningly above his head, while the left hand by the side grasps the Vajra. ln the other figure the right hand supports the end of the Vajra and the left, with fingers stiffly spread, steadies it half-way up.
ln either figure the head shows a grotesque face with enlarged staring eyes, misshapen nose, fierce moustaches, and a beard in long straggling tufts. The flesh is painted light brown. The muscles and joints of body and limbs are emphasized with conventional exaggeration, but with an effect full of vigour. The muscles are drawn in strong black lines to which modelling is added by brushwork in light red or pink. Abundantly decked with jewellery as the figures are, they carry but scanty dress. It comprises a short skirt, bright crimson or scarlet with slate border, which is tied round the hips by a trailing white girdle; also a narrow stole, olive green with brown or pink reverse, which winds over both forearms.
The sinuous lines of the drapery, the fillet ends of the head-dress flying upwards, the coiling clouds above the haloed heads, all help to intensify the expression of violent effort. The same end is well served by the bold lines of the drawing and the strong and clear colours used.
The banner [of the Bodhisattva] (Ch. 001) is, but for the lost accessories, in an excellent condition, and shows in its figure a fine example of the Bodhisattva type which has been distinguished above under the conventional designation of ‘Chinese’.
The Bodhisattva, as yet unidentified, stands in a peculiar pose not elsewhere represented among our paintings. He stands on an open lotus, with the raised right hand holding at shoulder level a round bowl of mottled green glass with a metal rim. The head is turned three-quarters towards the bowl, while the left hand hangs down by the side. As the weight of the body is carried on the right leg and the body slightly inclines from the right hip towards the left shoulder, attention is cleverly drawn by the pose to the object which the right hand supports.
The face shows conventional features of the ‘Chinese’ Bodhisattva type in the small slanting eyes, heavy cheeks, and small full mouth. The down-turned corners of the mouth and the wrinkles marked below the outer ends of the nostrils impart a curious expression  to the face. As in all these banners, the flesh is left the natural colour of the silk, with delicate shading in faint pink to show the modelling of face and body.
The dress is the traditional Bodhisattva attire in a particularly elaborate form. A trailing skirt of pale pink, with blue border, drapes the figure from the waist to the feet. Its upper edge is held by a white girdle and gold-edged belt. The end of this girdle hangs down with loops in front and the end of another behind it, made of a rich flowered red material. An under-robe of dull red appears only above the feet. The upper half of the body is nude except for a band of purplish-pink drapery, elaborate jewellery, and a filmy blue stole which shown in delicate transparent colour descends over shoulders and arms to the ground.
The abundant jewellery is of a type with which we have already become familiar in paintings of Avalokiteśvara and elsewhere. The head-dress consists of a narrow fillet of white drapery, ending with a narrow white band which hangs in a long loop to the knees. Over the forehead it carries a light gold ornament ending above in two lotus buds which spring backwards over the black hair. This falls behind in heavy locks down to the elbows and forms a dark background to the bust. The circular nimbus is made up of variegated rings of colour such as are seen round the heads of the Bodhisattvas in Plate
Plate XXX: Side-Scenes and Details from a Buddhist Paradise Painting
This Plate reproduces some side-scenes and small portions from the fine but very fragmentary remains of a large silk painting (Ch. 00216) representing a Buddhist Heaven, probably that of Amitābhā. The colours of what is preserved are in remarkably fresh condition, and this facilitates close examination of interesting details.
Taking the side-scenes as shown [here] we may note first the fine floral border which separates the two at the top from the main picture. Its vermilion ground is covered with rich trailing bunches of flowers and leaves painted in a variety of vivid colours. With their naturalistic style they closely recall the designs which are displayed by plentiful embroidery remains I recovered from the hoard of the ‘Thousand Buddhas’. Serindia, pp. 904 sqq., and the embroidery specimens reproduced there in Plates CVI-CVIII, CX, CXI. The outside border of the whole is decorated with bold groups of entwined tendrils in orange-red over dark brown, showing in their style a curious affinity to certain of the cloud scrolls which appear on the fine textile remains of Han times brought to light by me from ancient sites in the Lop Desert. Cf. F. H. Andrews, Ancient Chinese Figured Silks excavated by Sir Aurel Stein (B. Quaritch, London, 1920), pp. 4 sqq., Figs. l-3.
The two side-scenes above form part of a series extending along the left side of the picture and illustrating the ancient Buddhist legend of Ajātaśatru, the wicked son of King Bimbisāra. Chinese inscriptions accompany most of these scenes; but the upper one of those here reproduced has lost its inscription and its identification is hence not quite certain. It, however, appears to represent Ajātaśatru with his sword drawn menacing Bimbisāra, who is attempting to draw his own. Both are wearing flowing robes such as form elsewhere in our paintings the costume of ministers. The scene seems laid below the stairs leading up to the royal palace.
The scene below appears, according to the but partially legible inscription, to represent Ajātaśatru after repentance entering the Buddhist monkhood. What survives of the scene shows three men in plain belted coats advancing to the left in front of a decorated and  streamered pavilion. This and the building behind display very clearly characteristic features of Chinese architecture such as the tiled roofs, the recurving roof-tree ends, the confronting bird heads on the roof ridge, &c. On the right of the scene we see a subsidiary Buddha, standing with a Bodhisattva by his side, as in the corresponding groups of other Paradise paintings. See above, Plates I, II.
The scenes below belong to a different series which extended along the bottom of the picture. They show in the left corner the Death of the Wicked. He lies stretched out on a couch placed in a verandah with his wife watching him, while two shock-headed demons strangle him with scarlet ropes. Below is seen on a cloud, as a vision, the boiling cauldron into which his body is being flung by one of the ox-headed gaolers of hell, who stands by carrying a trident-shaped pitchfork.
The adjoining scene depicts the Sickness of the Wicked. He sits up, supported by a woman, on the bed laid within a porch or verandah. ln the foreground a younger woman with a lute and a man carrying a leaf-shaped red object and stooping advance towards what seems a mat with offerings laid on the ground. They are small black dishes with red contents (burning incense?), clouds of white smoke drifting from some of them.
The third scene of this series is incomplete and having lost its inscription cannot be identified. It shows a man in purple coat and tailed cap running to the back of the scene between a verandahed structure and a shrine built of grey tiles, with his hands brandishing a stick over his head. In front a man, similarly dressed and perhaps meant to be the same person, is seen with bared arms and body violently belabouring another, in purple coat and with the blue close-cropped hair of a monk, who kneels on the ground and holds his hand to his head.
Of the [other] fragments the main picture reproduced … shows us a group of musicians, seated on a small evidently carpeted platform and facing towards a dancer (now lost) as usually seen in the large Paradise pictures. Of the instruments played a psaltery, harp, lute, and two flutes of different kinds are still recognizable. It is of interest to note that the carpet with a Chinese floral pattern in the centre combines a medallion border of unmistakably ‘Sassanian’ design. We meet with exactly corresponding examples of the combination of Chinese and ‘Sassanian’ textile motifs in certain printed silks from the ‘Thousand Buddhas’; see Serindia, p. 911, Plates CXIII, CX1V. The Bodhisattva figure on the left belongs to the group of the standing subsidiary Buddha already mentioned.
The [other] fragment reproduced [here] is from the top left corner of the picture. There, against a deep blue sky sprinkled with gilded stars and above the steeply curved indigo roof of a celestial mansion, we see a flaming jewel on a lotus pedestal; white streamers flying from a central pavilion; small drums floating in air to symbolize heavenly music, and in the middle Samantabhadra seated on his white elephant and attended by two Bodhisattvas. The drums, painted dark brown and tied with red ribbons, are of interest on account of their different shapes. Whether cylindrical or narrow-waisted, they have strings stretched outside for the production of different notes by pressure under the arm. One has also a projecting staff with cross-hammer.
Plate XXXI A Tibetan Painting of Tārā
This Plate reproduces the only painting (Ch. lii. 001 … ) among those brought away from the walled-up chapel which is entirely Tibetan in style. The special interest it derives from this fact is further increased by the probability of its being ‘the oldest of its kind now in existence, or at least one of the oldest’. Mr. Binyon in his lntroduction [See the Binyon’s Introduction part IV]. has already referred to the Tibetan supremacy established in the Tun-huang region from  the middle of the eighth to the middle of the ninth century as explaining the presence of this Tibetan painting. He has also lucidly discussed the relation which links the art of Buddhist Tibet, in spite of its marked and strangely persistent peculiarities, closely with Chinese art. My remarks may hence be confined to the technique and iconography of the painting.
The picture, which is preserved complete together with its frame of dark green silk, is painted in tempera on strong close-woven linen. The colours have generally darkened and in places have been rubbed off, leaving whitish patches or the cloth bare. Owing to these causes the reproduction of the painting has presented considerable technical difficulties. Hence some of the details mentioned cannot be made out in it quite as clearly as in the original.
The subject is the goddess Tārā, the Śakti or female emanation of Avalokiteśvara. The goddess, represented in her usual form as a beautiful young woman, is seated in the centre on a variegated lotus which floats on the blue water of a lake. She sits with her right knee raised and the left leg bent across. The right hand with palm turned outwards in the vara-mudrā rests on the right knee, the left is at the breast, both holding long curving sprays with a conventional blue lotus at the end. The pose of the body slightly inclined to the right is balanced by the head leaning in the opposite direction. The sinuous line of the whole figure conforms to a characteristic tendency of Tibetan art. The flesh had been gilded, but this gilding has almost entirely worn off.
The goddess wears a dark red skirt and stole spangled with gilded flowers. Her knees are covered with elaborately ornamented caps. Rich jewellery decks neck and breast. Above her black hair bound with scarlet fillets is set a five-leaved tiara with a high-peaked crown. A nimbus of very dark green, now almost turned to black, sets off the head, while behind the figure is shown an oval vesica with a rayed border of rainbow-like colours.
On a dark cloud above the goddess’s head appears the small figure of a Buddha seated in meditation with the alms-bowl in his lap. On either side of him, on praying mats carried by dark green clouds, sit two black-haloed saints wearing the peaked hoods of Lamas. Along the sides of the picture are ranged eight subsidiary forms of Tārā, differentiated by varying colours of flesh and dress. Their pose is the same as that of the central goddess; the right hand rests on the knee, holding a flask, and the left raises a long-stemmed blue lotus.
Interspersed between these subsidiary Tārās are shown six scenes of deliverance from Calamities similar to those represented on the sides of certain Paradise paintings, such as the one in Plates
While these figures clearly point to a Chinese model of the scenes, the demonic deity in the centre of the foreground shows characteristic features of truly Tibetan taste. His squat dark blue figure sits sideways on a yellow horse, brandishing a scarlet club in his right hand. His hair is a flaming mass streaming upwards; a man’s bleeding head hangs from his saddle-cloth. It is impossible to mistake here a conception of that monstrous type which Tibetan Buddhism under the influence of Tantra doctrines absorbed from India and under that of its own demon worship has always greatly cherished.
Plate XXXII: Paper Pictures of a Bodhisattva, Saint, and Monk
Of the pictures reproduced in this Plate … two … bear Tibetan inscriptions and thereby prove themselves as produced and deposited after the Tibetan conquest of Tun-huang. But there is nothing essential to distinguish their style from that of other of our paintings in which hieratic figures are represented with close adherence to traditional treatment derived from India.
The paper painting [here] (Ch. 00377) shows a Bodhisattva of the type above designated as ‘Indian’ seated on a yellow lotus, with legs all but crossed and the right hand raised in the vitarka-mudrā. The Tibetan inscription kindly read by Dr. Barnett See his Appendix K, Serindia, p. 1473. describes him as the ‘Lord of the upper region’, and as the Indian cosmic system places the Sun and Moon in this ‘upper region’, the discs above the Bodhisattva, with the emblem of the Sun god on the right and that of the Moon god (now effaced) on the left, are fully accounted for.
The Bodhisattva’s face bears a somewhat ferocious aspect; his flesh is faintly coloured with pink. His garments are touched with pink, crimson, and olive green, while the jewellery is left uncoloured. The black hair is tied into a high topknot and descends in stylized ringlets on the shoulders. The oval nimbus and vesica are both edged with flames.
This paper painting (Ch. 00376) … which belongs to the same series, is a more pleasing production. According to the Tibetan inscription below the haloed figure represents Kālika, a disciple of Śākyamuni and the fourth of the Great Apostles. He is seated on a mat, cross-legged and wrapped in a red and buff mantle lined with olive green. The right hand carries the mendicant’s bowl; the head is shaven. The monk’s features are full of character and drawn with much decision. On the right is stuck the beggar’s staff, with a bracket from which hangs his wallet.
Superior to these paintings in design and workmanship is the drawing on paper (Ch. 00145) reproduced [here]. It shows a monk seated on a mat in meditation. His shaven head, with large, somewhat straight, features, bears an expression of firmness and concentration admirably rendered with a few fluent lines. Neither eyes nor nose and mouth bear a Chinese look. And yet the whole drawing clearly bears the impress of a Chinese artist’s brush.
The monk wears an ample mantle, and below it an under-robe with conventional cross bars marking the mendicant’s patched garb. ln front are deposited his shoes, behind to the left is placed a high stoppered vase, while on a thorn-tree to the right are hung his rosary and wallet. The drawing of the tree is unmistakably Chinese in character, and the whole disposition of the little picture illustrates the mastery of spacing inherent in Chinese artistic feeling. For once we are taken away from the sphere of hieratic conventions and brought into touch with life as the eyes of the artist, or those of an earlier master, saw it.
Plate XXXIII: Paper Pictures of Hermit and Horse-Dragon
The two pictures on paper reproduced [next] claim interest by their subjects as well as by their artistic merit. The [first] one … (Ch. 00380) presents an aged hermit with a tiger walking by his side. The hermit is represented with a face extremely wrinkled, shaggy eyebrows, deeply sunken eyes and cheeks. With his right hand he leans upon a rough staff, in his left he carries a stick ending in a Vajra and fly-whisk. He wears sandals, long spotted trousers, and two tunics, the shorter  of which is spotted, has long sleeves, and reaches below the waist. His head is covered by a mushroom hat put above a skull-cap and tied under the chin by scarlet bands. On his back is seen a bundle of manuscript rolls tied in a cover and slung by a chain to a thorny branch. The attachment of this branch to the hermit’s person is not clear; but in another picture of the same subject a pole supporting the bundle is shown as carried on his right shoulder.
On the further side of the old man there advances a tiger of disproportionately small size. Both figures stand on a cloud of dark red fire, and above them in the left top corner appears a small seated Buddha, also on a cloud. The paint used for the cloud scrolls has destroyed much of the paper, and of the figure too, where it was used on it. The only other colours are grey and a light pink, distributed over the clothing and figure, while the flesh is left uncoloured. The drawing of the hermit’s figure is done with masterly skill, especially in the features, to which impressive strength is imparted by a few lines combining firmness with great freedom.
Very different in character is the [next] picture … (Ch. 00150), one of the very few non-Buddhistic paintings from the ‘Thousand Buddhas’. Its subject has not been determined with certainty, but may possibly be related to the story of how the Emperor Fu-hsi, the legendary founder of the Chinese polity, first received the system of written characters from a ‘horse-dragon’. Cf. Mayers, The Chinese Reader’s Manual, p. 48.
Before the kneeling monster we see standing a bearded man, with smiling face, who holds tablet and brush in his hands in the act of writing. The back of his figure has been cut off when adapting the picture as a mount for the two woodcuts under which it was discovered. He is clad in a white-sleeved under-robe, long pink mantle, and a stiff black head-dress with a square ornament stuck in front. A branching column of flame rises from the tablet. Others stream from the dragon’s head and body.
The dragon is a composite monster. The head is of a conventional lion-like type, with voluminous upstanding mane, out of which rise three sharp-pointed objects resembling mountain peaks. The body suggests that of a scaly snake, with wings of curling feathers attached and with the forelegs of a bull (?). ln the foreground lies a string of square-holed Chinese coins, an emblem the meaning of which at present escapes us. The whole is drawn with much vigour and, in spite of the fearsome appearance of the monster, with a distinct touch of humour.
Plates XXXIV, XXXV: Embroidery Picture of Śākyamuni on the Vulture Peak
The large hanging in silk embroidery (Ch. 00260), to which … certain photographic difficulties do not allow full justice to be done in this reproduction, is by its size – the perfectly preserved central figure is close upon life-size – by its remarkably skilful execution, and by its fine colours one of the most impressive of the pictorial remains recovered. That it represents Śākyamuni on Gṛdhrakūṭa, the ‘Vulture Peak’, famous in Buddhist legend and situated near Rājagṛha, the present Rajgir, is conclusively proved by the rocks behind the Buddha’s figure in the centre.
This fine, if hieratically stiff, figure, as I have already had occasion to point out, [See the descriptions above, under Plates XIII and XIV>]. when discussing the statues shown by the pictures in Plates
The design in our hanging has been worked solid throughout in satin-stitch. The embroidery has been executed with admirable care and the silks used have remained clean and glossy. Some idea of the labour implied by the execution of the embroidery may be formed from the fact that the careful remounting of the hanging on a fresh canvas backing, which became necessary at the British Museum for its preservation, kept the expert employed on this task, Miss E. A. Winter, of the Roval School of Needlework, occupied for over three months. The ground is a coarse natural-coloured linen faced with light buff silk. This has mostly worn off in the interspaces of figures. Two of the figures, too, representing monkish disciples, having fallen along the line of folding, while the hanging was stored away and crushed for long centuries, have perished except for remains of the heads. Otherwise the picture is practically complete, and neither the effect of the whole nor that of characteristic features of treatment is impaired.
Śākyamuni stands facing the spectator with his feet on a lotus. His right arm hangs stiffly by his side with the fingers stretched downwards and the palm turned to the side. The arm wrapped in the folds of the glowing red mantle holds an ‘ear’ of it gathered at the breast. The mantle closely draped about the body falls in a point to below the knees and allows a light green under-robe to be seen thence to the ankles. The yellow lining of the mantle shows in a rippling edge along the outline of the left arm and down the body, a device which is familiar already to Gandhāra sculpture. The right shoulder and arm are left bare and are painted a deep golden yellow. The Buddha’s face is shown in light buff and, curiously enough, the right forearm as well. This distinction is emphasized in the case of the latter by the work being executed in thin rows of chain-stitch and is obviously intentional. But its iconographic significance is for the present uncertain. Some connexion might perhaps be sought with an early legend relating to Śākyamuni’s stay on Gṛdhrakūṭa. While engaged in meditation within a grotto, he was believed to have pushed his right arm through its rock wall in order to reassure his disciple Ānanda, whom Māra, in the shape of a vulture, had frightened; cf. Foucher, L’art greco-bouddhique du Gandhāra, i. p. 497. Behind the head, with its narrow, slightly slanting eyes and hair of very dark indigo, appears a nimbus in plain rings of variegated colours. A narrow halo shaped like a lotus petal, similarly coloured, surrounds the whole figure, and behind this again appears a border of rocks emblematic of the Vulture Peak.
By the side of the Buddha stand pairs of disciples and Bodhisattvas, both on lotuses. The latter, who may represent Avalokiteśvara and Mahāsthāma, turn three-fourths towards him; the one on the left with hands in adoration, the other with both arms slightly advanced from the elbows and the right hand held as if in the vara-mudrā. The dress and adornments of these figures conform to those of Bodhisattvas of the ‘Indian’ type as already noticed, but are drawn more trimly. A certain stiffness and simplicity in their design suggest close affinity to Indian models. But in the Bodhisattvas’ faces we notice the influence of Chinese style, as also in the ornamental borders of their dress.
Of the disciples’ figures in the background enough remains to show that their heads were shaven and haloed and their dress that of monks, with mantles barred with cross-stripes. The face of the one on the Buddha’s left was lined and frowning, which suggests identity with Kāśyapa; the other with face plump and benign may represent Śāriputra. [It is more likely to be Ānanda]. By the side of the small and somewhat stiff canopy above Śākyamuni’s head are seen two graceful Apsaras floating down with outspread arms, borne up by fine cloud scrolls and their billowing stoles. Their resemblance to the Apsaras of Plates
Below the Buddha’s feet there kneels on either side a small lion of conventional type with one forepaw lifted. Below them again is a panel for a dedication, which, however, has never been worked in. Of the narrow cartouches placed by each line of donors, only the two foremost on the men’s side bear Chinese characters, now mostly illegible.
The groups of donors on either side of the panel, disposed in strict symmetry, present special interest by their life-like treatment and by their costumes. This is easily seen from Plate XXXV, which reproduces the group of ladies …  Arrayed in three lines and kneeling on mats, they all wear a very plain type of dress. It comprises high-waisted skirts of brown, green, or blue, bodices with long close-fitting sleeves, and small shawl-like stoles. They have no jewels, and their hair is done in a small topknot without any ornaments. By the side of the hindmost two ladies kneels a child, and at the back stands a young female attendant in a long plain gown. On the men’s side there kneels foremost a shaven monk in a brown cloak, behind him three men dressed in long belted coats of light greenish-blue and wearing peaked and tailed caps of dark brown or blue. A young attendant with bare head holding a staff stands at the back.
A glance at the lay donors is enough to prove that the dress in each case is in closest agreement with that worn by the donors in the two paintings of Amitābhā’s Paradise in Plates
In accessory details, too, a very close contact reveals itself between the embroidery picture and the paintings shown in Plates
Plate XXXVI: Bhaiṣajyaguru’s Paradise
The subject of the silk painting (Ch. liii. 002) reproduced here … is a Buddhist Heaven, and by evidence of the side-scenes preserved on the right, which are identical with those of the larger painting seen in Plates
Apart from the top and bottom portions and the side-scenes on the left, which are lost, our painting is in excellent condition and retains its colours in particular freshness. The colouring is rendered very distinctive by the large proportion of black and blue. The drawing is refined and the work well finished throughout.
In the centre we see the figure of the presiding Buddha in the same pose and dress as seen in Plate
 In front of the altar is seen a richly dressed dancer performing on a projecting terrace, attended by six musicians who are here of a masculine type with long hair like that of Bodhisattvas. Below at the sides remain in part the figures of two subsidiary Buddhas, probably seated, with attendant Bodhisattvas and elaborate canopies, like those shown above the enthroned figures in the centre. On the gangway leading down from the dancer’s terrace stands a peacock, and below it appear the heads of six of the Kings, probably twelve altogether, who were represented in the centre.
The lake of the Paradise is seen here only on the top of the picture about the piles supporting celestial mansions. These consist of a high-roofed central pavilion and two open hexagonal shrines with pagoda roofs. These are occupied each by a small seated Buddha and are joined to the central building by curving gangways which slope down steeply to the lake.
The marginal scenes on the right are drawn as always in purely Chinese style and correspond to those in Plate
Plate XXXVII: Banners with Scenes from the Buddha Legend
In my preliminary comments on Plate
The two banners (Ch. lv. 009-10) shown on the sides of the Plate form a pair exhibiting common characteristics in all externals and undoubtedly painted by the same hand. For the reasons which account for the banners with scenes from the Life usually forming small groups or at least pairs, cf. Serindia, p. 852. But for the loss of all accessories and some damage to the top and bottom scenes they are both excellently preserved. The drawing is notable for its fine yet vigorous brush-strokes, the colours strong and clear. The painter’s skill displays itself particularly in the landscapes of the background, which convey a sense of great width and distance. Like the figures, architecture, spacing, &c., of these banners they are thoroughly Chinese in their treatment.
In the banner on the left (Ch. lv. 009) the topmost scene shows the meeting of Gautama Buddha in a former birth with Dīpaṅkara Buddha. In open country with mountains in the background the Buddha advances to the right followed by two attendants in dress of the Bodhisattva type. With his left hand he touches the head of the boy, the future Gautama, who bows down before him with hands joined in adoration. The boy wears a short deer-skin tunic and is bare-headed. The Buddha’s right hand is lifted in the gesture of ‘Protection’.
The scene next below, chronologically out of order, represents the first three of Prince Gautama’s famous ‘Four Encounters’ condensed, as it were, into one. It shows with much realism the sick man on his bedstead supported by an attendant, the old man being led by a boy, and the putrified corpse. The first two of these ‘Encounters’ we have already met with in Plate
That the figure of Gautama is absent from the scene may seem strange. But the omission of the ascetic’s figure is less surprising. In the fourth ‘Encounter’ of the legend  he symbolizes the way of salvation, and for Chinese eyes this may seem appropriately replaced by the vision of a heavenly abode. The large paintings show us how completely the hope of Sukhāvatī, the Buddhist Paradise, has effaced the desire of Nirvāṇa in the minds of pious Chinese.
The succeeding scene represents the Bodhisattva’s miraculous Descent or Conception as revealed to his mother in her dream. In a court of the palace of Kapilavastu Queen Māyā is shown lying asleep upon a couch placed within a projecting apartment. Its green rush-blinds are partly rolled up. The infant Bodhisattva is seen kneeling with hands clasped on the back of the traditional white elephant, which gallops towards Māyā; two attendants kneel beside him. The whole group, enclosed within a circular space, is carried on a cloud and thus clearly marked as a vision. This is in complete accord with the original Buddhist tradition which presents the descent of the white elephant not as a real event, but as a dream of Māyā; cf. Foucher, L’art greco-bouddhique du Gandhāra, i. p. 292.
The bottom scene, which, unlike the rest, is not to be found among the very numerous representations of Gautama’s Nativity in Graeco-Buddhist sculpture, seems to show Māyā’s return to her father’s palace after the dream. For a textual reference supporting this interpretation, cf. Serindia, p. XXIII, add. to p. 855, note 50a. Māyā, distinguished by a golden ornament on her head, is seen walking with a woman attendant from the palace of Kapilavastu. Both wear wide-sleeved over-jackets in which they muffle their hands.
In the companion banner (Ch. lv. 0010) on the right we see scenes which continue the story of the Nativity in chronological sequence. The top scene shows Māyā asleep in the same pavilion and pose as in the ‘Descent’ scene, but with three figures kneeling outside to the left on a cloud and in adoring attitude. The interpretation is uncertain. The succeeding scene, though also absent in the Gandhāra relievos, is quite clear in its character. It presents to us Māyā on her way to the Lumbinī garden. She is seated in a gaily coloured palanquin carried by four bearers, whose rapid movement is excellently expressed. Two more men carry trestles on which to set the palanquin down.
Immediately below we see the miraculous birth of Gautama Bodhisattva, a familiar subject in Buddhist art of all times and regions. The child’s issue from the mother’s right flank and her pose grasping a bough are in close conformity with Indian tradition. But the ingenious use made of Māyā’s wide-hanging sleeve discreetly to screen the act of birth seems characteristically Chinese. The infant is springing downwards where a woman attendant kneels to receive him on a cloth. A white lotus appears where he is about to fall.
The ‘Nativity’ series is completed in the lowest panel by the famous incident of the Seven Steps, with lotuses springing up beneath where the Infant Bodhisattva has set his feet. To the right stands Māyā, with her hands muffied in her long sleeves and her head turned back towards the young child. To the left of him stands two women attendants with bowed heads and hands raised in wonder or adoration. Enough of the landscape remains to show that the scene was laid in the same grounds as the preceding two. The Chinese inscription in the cartouche confirms the interpretation.
The scene of the Seven Steps appears also at the bottom of the silk banner (Ch. 00114), which is shown [here]. It is painted in a more ornate style than the other two, but lacks their sense of life and space. Here the child steps forward with an air of difficulty but determination, the left arm stretched upwards. Four ladies bend over him in surprise and adoration. Behind to the left appear a fifth lady and a man wearing a belted yellow robe and tailed cap. Their identity is doubtful.
The scene is preceded by the Bath of the Infant. The newly born Bodhisattva stands in a golden laver, raised on a stand between two palm-trees. Their tops are lost in a curling mass of black cloud, and in this there appear, ranged archwise, the heads of the ‘nine Dragons of the air’, gazing down on the infant with open mouths. A well-known Buddhist tradition makes Nāgas or divinities of the thunder-clouds, i. e. ‘Dragons’ in Chinese eyes, perform the laving of the New-born. The descent of the water, which their mouths are  supposed to pour forth, is not actually represented here. Five women stand round, one holding a towel.
The upper portion of the banner shows the Seven Jewels (sapta ratnāni) associated in tradition with Gautama. According to ancient Indian notions, the Seven Jewels, i. e. the best specimens of each kind that appear during the reign, appertain to every Cakravartin, or Universal Monarch, from his birth, and there is good reason to believe that the Pre-destined One was credited with this character and its attributes from an early date. We see them represented here in two groups: in the upper one the wheel, emblem of sovereign rule; the strong-box, symbolizing the jewel or treasure; the general and the wife; in the lower one the minister, the elephant, and the horse. They all stand on the curling white clouds, stylized in a peculiar fashion and edged in red, blue, and green. Flaming jewels adorn the wheel, the horse, and the elephant.
The general, clad in a coat of scale-armour and resembling a Lokapāla, holds with his right hand a narrow oblong shield and in his left a pennoned lance. The wife, Yaśodhara, is attired in a trailing skirt and wide jacket with sleeves reaching to the ground. Her hair, as usual with royal ladies represented in the Life scenes, is bound with a gold fillet and done in two high loops rising up from the crown. The minister’s dress is like hers, with a long terra-cotta band tied in a bow hanging down the back. In the white horse, with red mane and tail, we recognize, of course, Kanthaka, the Bodhisattva’s cherished steed, a favourite figure in the Life scenes of our banners.
Plate XXXVIII: Buddha Tejaḥprabha and Avalokiteśvara as Guide of Souls
The two silk paintings reproduced in this Plate … and originally mounted as Kakemonos, present special interest on account of their subjects and treatment. The one above (Ch. liv. 007), according to the Chinese inscription in the left-hand top corner, dates from A.D. 897, and yet is painted in a style which, as pointed out by Mr. Binyon, [See Binyon’s Introduction, part III]. looks distinctly earlier. It represents the Buddha Tejaḥprabha (‘radiant with light’) on a chariot which two bullocks draw, and surrounded by the genii of the five planets whom the inscription mentions. The same subject appears to be treated also in one of the finest of the wall-paintings of the Thousand Buddhas’ Caves. See Serindia, pp. 933 sq., Figs. 215, 226.
The Buddha is shown seated on a blue lotus which occupies the top of an open two-wheeled car. A draped altar placed in front of him across its shafts is decked with gilded vessels. Two elaborately decorated flags float behind the car, hung from slanting poles. The Buddha, whose figure alone in the picture shows distinct Indian convention, raises his right hand in the abhaya-mudrā. His flesh was originally gilded and his hair is shown blue. Rays of different colours radiate from his person, replacing a halo. Overhead a rich canopy waving in his advance symbolizes rapid movement. By the side of the trotting bullock strides a dark-skinned attendant, recalling the ‘Indian’ leaders of Mañjuśrī’s and Samantabhadra’s mounts, but carrying a mendicant’s staff instead of a goad and playing a sistrum [a metallic rattle] with his left hand, as clearly seen in the original.
Of the genii represented two stand beyond the car dressed in Chinese official costume with trailing under-robes and wide-sleeved jackets. The one on the left carries a dish of flowers, and within the crown of his black head-dress appears a white boar’s head. The other on the right holds a brush and a tablet in his hands; between two loops of his elaborate head-dress there rises the figure of a monkey. A third, dressed all in white, plays upon a large lute with a very long plectrum; For a full description of this instrument, cf. Miss K. Schlesinger’s note in Appendix H, Serindia, p. 1468. his head is surmounted by a phoenix. The figure of the fourth divinity is of demonic type, four-armed, with fiery hair and  grotesque features. The right hands carry sword and arrow, and the left hands a trident and bow; above his crown is seen a horse’s head.
With the comparative stiffness of the figures contrasts the freedom of the whirling mass of cloud upon which the whole group is shown sweeping past as in a vision. The colouring is strong, yet harmonious, and the workmanship careful.
The picture [here] (Ch. lvii. 002), which is in excellent preservation and still retains its original Kakemono mounting of brown silk, is a noble composition strikingly different in style and entirely Chinese in feeling. It shows the figure of Avalokiteśvara, as Guide of Souls, drawn with much dignity and grace, and behind him an attendant soul represented on a smaller scale in the guise of a Chinese woman.
The figure of Avalokiteśvara, who turns head and gaze backwards over the left shoulder, is in physical features and dress a fine specimen of the ‘Chinese’ Bodhisattva type already repeatedly noticed. In his right hand he carries a smoking censer, in his left a curving lotus spray and a waving white banner with triangular top and streamers, the whole exactly alike in shape to the silk banners brought away from Ch’ien-fo-tung. In the dress of soft and harmoniously blended colours the elaborate rosettes of the borders may be noted as manifestly reproducing contemporary textile patterns.
The figure of the woman behind, with her head bowed and hands muffied in wide sleeves at her breast, well expresses devout reliance on the divine guide. Her attire, by the brilliant colouring of the robes and the absence of the elaborate metal head-dress, stands out in marked contrast to the costume familiar from the donor figures of our tenth-century paintings. The purple cloud which carries both figures sweeps up behind them to the top of the picture. There a Chinese mansion resting on conventional cloud scrolls represents the Paradise to which Avalokiteśvara leads his worshippers.
By the evidence of the dress and coiffure of the Bodhisattva’s attendant, which seem to belong to post-T’ang times, the painting may be classed amongst the latest of the deposit. But what for our appreciation of this beautiful picture must matter far more than this chronological difference is the fact that the style of its design and its refined execution give full and exclusive expression just to those qualities which are characteristic of Chinese pictorial art at its best. As Mr. Binyon, when comparing this picture with another presentation of Avalokiteśvara, the one reproduced in our Plate
Plate XXXIX: Kṣitigarbha with the Infernal Judges
The small picture (Ch. lxi. 009) reproduced here … is remarkable for its peculiar colour scheme and for its archaic appearance in composition and drawing. It represents Kṣitigarbha in his combined character as Patron of Travellers, Regent of Hell, and Lord of the Six Worlds of Desire. We have already above, when dealing with the paintings reproduced in Plate
The picture is painted on indigo blue silk which, though much broken, especially on the edges, yet retains the strong colours of the painting in great freshness. Kṣitigarbha  in stiff hieratic attitude is seated on a red Padmāsana with his left leg resting on a small lotus and the right bent across. With his right hand raised he grasps the mendicant’s staff, while the left, palm uppermost, is held outwards empty. Over an under-robe of yellow with vermilion border he carries a maroon-bordered mantle of perished colour, while a traveller’s shawl of maroon covers head and shoulders. Gilded diamonds sprinkle shawl and borders. The face and breast are gilded, but the exposed portions of the limbs are painted light red.
From the large circular halo in blue, vermilion, and white spread out on either side three waving rays in the same colours, intended to bear figures representative of the Six Worlds (gati) as seen in Plate
In slanting rows descending from Kṣitigarbha’s lotus seat the Ten Infernal Judges are shown sitting on their heels, five on each side. They wear magisterial robes with head-dresses of varying shapes and carry narrow rolls of paper in their hands. Their faces, drawn in three-quarter profile, show some endeavour at individual characterization. Behind them on the right stand two men, with belted coats and wide-brimmed hats, holding a small and a very large roll of paper respectively. A third man, in a corresponding position on the left, carries what appears to be a writing-brush.
In the foreground we see again, crouching, a white lion, of very stylized form. A man’s figure, probably representing the soul of a departed, stands in adoring pose at its head, while on the opposite side another person with grotesque features raises his hands imploringly towards Kṣitigarbha. Both as regards its archaic style of design and its peculiar hard colouring the picture has no pendant in our collection. But, as Mr. Binyon has justly observed, it remains at present uncertain ‘whether the primitive features may not be due to provincial style preserving old tradition rather than to actual antiquity’. [See Binyon’s Introduction, part III].
Plate XL: Kṣitigarbha as Patron of Travellers
The painting (Ch. 0084) reproduced here … also represents Kṣitigarbha, like the one in the preceding Plate, but shows striking differences of style in composition, drawing, and colouring. Simplicity of design, delicacy of line, and harmonious quiet of colours all combine to give to this picture a singular charm of its own, admirably expressive of serene beatitude. It is painted on pale green silk and, except where it is broken at the bottom, well preserved along with its border of greenish-blue silk.
We see the Bodhisattva seated cross-legged on an open lotus with gracefully pointed red petals. His face, round and youthful, bears an expression of benignant mildness. The eyes, long and straight, are cast slightly downwards. The right hand holds the mendicant’s staff and the left, resting on the knee, a flaming ball of crystal. He is dressed in a yellowish under-robe, apparently lined with pink, and a light green mantle which is barred and bordered with black. Head and shoulders are draped in a shawl of Indian red ornamented with a faint spot pattern in yellow.
The nimbus and circular halo are ornamented with elaborate ray and floral patterns in red and green and edged with flames. A broad band of white surrounds the whole figure and lifts it out of the green background. In the corners of this are seen floating sprays with red flowers.
 Below in the left corner there remains the upper portion of the kneeling donor, recognizable as a boy by his features and the way in which his hair is dressed. In his joined hands he holds a lotus flower. His loose-sleeved red coat is sprinkled with a circular flower pattern in yellow and black. Red flowers on tall stems rise on either side of him. The cartouche to the right is left blank, and so, too, the remainder of the space probably intended for a dedicatory inscription.
Plate XLI: Avalokiteśvara and two other Bodhisattvas
The three pictures which this Plate shows, are characteristic specimens of those Bodhisattva banners on silk which are very frequent among our Tun-huang paintings. Cf. Serindia, pp. 861 sqq.
The [first] banner … (Ch. i. 0013) is completely preserved with its head-piece, streamers, and other accessories, and its painted portion, which alone is reproduced here, retains its colours in excellent condition. Its subject is easily recognized as Avalokiteśvara by the flask and the red lotus bud which he carries in his right and left hand respectively. The Bodhisattva’s figure is shown sweeping to the left with trailing draperies and the head slightly bent, gazing down at the lotus.
ln features, dress, and general style of work it shares the characteristics of the ‘Chinese’ Bodhisattva type repeatedly referred to before; but the hollowed back gives a particularly graceful curve to the whole figure. Its special slimness and the wide semicircular line showing the setting of the eyes also deserve notice. The modelling of the flesh by pink shading is well marked. The parted mouth, showing white teeth, is unusual. The colours are very bright, and as the paint is applied very thickly, the opaque white of the girdle and streamers contrasts rather harshly with the strong blue of the stole.
The [next] silk banner … (Ch. xxiv. 006) is also in excellent preservation, except for the lost accessories. The Bodhisattva who stands on a bluish-green lotus with hands in adoration remains in the absence of any particular indications unidentified. Figure, attire, and adornment conform to the ‘Chinese’ type of Bodhisattvas; but the skirt gathered up in front and showing bare legs is not usual. The colour scheme is rich but harmonious and the workmanship in general faultless, though confined to the familiar conventions of the type.
It is different with the fine Bodhisattva of the banner (Ch. i. 002) seen [next]. His figure is one of the most striking represented in the banners, remarkable for the skilful pose combining dignity with rapid movement, for the graceful sinuous lines of body and garments, and the pronounced and distinctly non-Chinese features of the Bodhisattva’s face. In view of a figure so distinctive and well defined, it is a matter of regret that there is no clue at present to its iconographic identity.
The Bodhisattva is seen walking away to the left, presenting a three-fourths back-view, with the head in profile over the left shoulder. With the left hand he gathers up the folds of the gracefully coiling stole, while the right, bent back at shoulder level, carries a pink lotus bud on the palm. The erect carriage of the body and its movement with the weight thrown forward on the right foot are admirably expressed. The canopy overhead, with its freely swinging tassels and bells, emphasizes the rapid movement which is suggested also by the feet being placed on two separate lotuses. The nimbus shown merely in outline as an elliptical black ring allows the back of the head and coiffure to be seen through.
The falling loops of the stole and the drapery tied in a knot at the neck hide details of the upper portion of the dress. But below it the waving folds of the glowing scarlet skirt are very skilfully rendered. A close-fitting cap of red, set with gold ornaments,  covers the head, and from it projects at the back a large richly decorated gold ring apparently holding a tress of hair.
Special interest attaches to the Bodhisattva’s face. Distinctly non-Chinese features are the long and prominent nose, the marked depression below the low sloping forehead, the long and straight eye. The head is equally far removed from the classical type which Gandhāra art propagated. A curious scornful expression is imparted to the face by the eyelid drawn in a straight line across the half-closed eye and by the pouting mouth. lts strangely foreign look remains doubly puzzling where everything else bears so clearly the impress of Chinese workmanship.
Plate XLII: Avalokiteśvara, Thousand-Armed, with Attendant Divinities
The large silk painting (Ch. xxviii. 006) reproduced in this Plate … is a fine illustration of that intermingling of art influences for which Tun-huang provided a classical meeting-place. It shows Avalokiteśvara with a thousand arms seated within a central disc, and outside this some attendant divinities symmetrically grouped. The scheme is thus closely akin to that of the Avalokiteśvara ‘Maṇḍala’ seen in Plate
Avalokiteśvara’s figure single-headed appears here too, seated within a large circular halo formed by his ‘thousand arms’, each showing the symbolic open eye on the palm. Against this background are numerous inner arms, all except four in the centre line of the figure carrying a multiplicity of sacred emblems well known to Buddhist iconography, such as the discs of the Sun and Moon, trident, Vajra, &c. Owing to the excellent finish, the details of all these, as well as of the rich ornaments which deck the Bodhisattva’s body and head, can be made out clearly. In front of the high tiara appears the figure of Amitābhā, his Dhyāni-buddha. The Bodhisattva’s flesh is shown dull yellow shaded with pink.
The nimbus is made up of a superimposed series of pointed rays brilliantly coloured. It is flame-edged like the border of the circular halo behind. The variegated petals of the lotus seat have also brilliant colours; gilding is used for their outlines as well as for all jewellery, the vessels on the altar in front, and the folds of Avalokiteśvara’s robes.
The background is divided into an upper and lower half. The upper, painted a thin light blue (now almost gone) and representing the sky, is sprinkled with small gilded stars and falling blossoms. In its top corners, to the right and left respectively, are shown the Bodhisattvas of the Sun and the Moon seated on their respective ‘Vāhanas’ of horses and geese, within red and white discs which piled-up clouds carry.
Against the lower half of the background, painted a deep blue and representing a tiled floor, are the haloed figures of the ‘Sage’ and the ‘Nymph of Virtue’, kneeling on lotuses to the right and left respectively. The former, an emaciated old man of ascetic type, yet wearing rich apparel, raises his right hand in salutation, and the ‘Nymph’ carries her dish of flowers, as also in Plate
 In the bottom corners stride in violent movement many-armed demonic Vajrapāṇis in red and blue against a vividly painted background of flames. With their fiery hair and grotesque features, and by the Tantric emblems they brandish in their hands, they show closest kinship to the monstrous divinities of Tantric origin in which the imagery of Tibetan Buddhism delights. Below them there kneel in adoration two small figures, one with an elephant’s head on the left and another with that of a rat on the right. In these we may, perhaps, recognize Gaṇeśa, familiar to Hindu mythology, and the ‘king of the sacred rats’, famous in Khotan local worship. See Ancient Khotan, i. pp. 120 sq., 264 sq.; ii. Pl. LXIII; Serindia, iii. p. 1277.
In these figures and in a variety of other details to which Mr. Binyon has very justly called attention, [See Binyon’s Introduction, part III]. we have striking indications of that mixed style of painting to which Indian prototypes, lranian and Central-Asian influences, and Tibetan taste have all contributed elements, albeit in very disparate proportions. Yet it does not need the Chinese inscriptions, found in a few of the cartouches and containing epithets of the respective divinities, to convince us that we owe this highly finished painting to Chinese workmanship. This has left its marks clearly in a mass of exquisite detail and in that perfectly mastered technique which accounts for the strong decorative effect of the whole.
Plate XLIII: Avalokiteśvara with Lokapāla Attendants
The silk painting reproduced here … (Ch. 00121) is a particularly fine example of Indian tradition preserved in Chinese Buddhist painting. The picture, damaged at the top and still more at its bottom, shows us Avalokiteśvara seated on a flat Padmāsana in the pose of ‘royal ease’. The shapely right hand hangs open over the raised right knee, while the left hand, now lost, evidently rested on the other knee and held the long spray of purple lotus which rises beside the head.
The figure of the Bodhisattva is presented in accordance with Indian iconographic canons. But the ease and distinction of the drawing, which the simplicity of the figure and the scarcity of colour make all the more noticeable, betoken the Chinese artist’s brush. The slender-waisted body leans towards the left shoulder; the limbs are long and slim; the head erect. The face is young and clean-shaven with an expression of serenity in the downcast slightly oblique eyes and the finely curved lips. The hair rises in a high cone above the three-leaved tiara, the front of which shows Avalokiteśvara’s Dhyāni-buddha, Amitābhā. The flesh is left uncoloured.
The dress is confined to a short crimson laṅgōṭī wrapped about the loins, a thin transparent skirt hanging about the legs, and a narrow scarf entwined on the breast. The jewellery is of the type usual in ‘Indian’ Bodhisattvas, but plain. The elliptical nimbus and circular halo behind the figure are painted in pale blue and green. In the background are shown feathery floral sprays of a type common in printed silk fabrics from the Ch’ien-fo-tung hoard.
In the top corners appear the small figures of two Lokapālas in mail armour, Vaiśravaṇa on the right and Virūpākṣa on the left, both seated on rocks. Corresponding figures of the other two Guardians of the Regions, no doubt, occupied the lost bottom corners.
Plate XLIV: Fragment of Standing Avalokiteśvara
This Plate shows the remaining upper portion of a large silk painting (Ch. 00451 … ) which represented Avalokiteśvara standing without attendants. Considerably broken as the painting is and injured in its surface, we recognize in it a fine pendant to the Avalokiteśvara picture reproduced in Plate
The physical type and the pose of the body, with its inclination to the left shoulder, closely correspond to those seen in Plate
The dress, jewellery, and colouring agree closely with those displayed by the figure in Plate
Plate XLV: Vaiśravaṇa Crossing the Ocean
The small Kakemono-shaped picture on silk (Ch. 0018) which this Plate shows … is one of the most finished of our Tun-huang paintings. It presents Vaiśravaṇa, the Guardian-king of the North, as he advances on a cloud across the heaving sea, with an imposing suite of attendants, some human, some demonic, but all of them in striking attires. The painting was found in excellent preservation, still retaining its border of purple silk (omitted in the reproduction), and thus it is fortunately possible to appreciate in all details the high artistic merit of a work which clearly is from the brush of a master.
When dealing above with another presentation of Vaiśravaṇa’s Progress, the painting shown by Plate
His dress is that of a warrior king, as proper to all Lokapālas, but of a particularly elaborate type. His coat of mail reaches down almost to the knees. The arrangement of the scales, shown by a diaper of three-armed crosses, is the same peculiar one already noted in Plate
The high three-leaved crown on Vaiśravaṇa’s head, with the wing-shaped ornament at the top and the white streamers flying up at the sides, unmistakably recalls the royal head-dress of Sassanian times. [See the description above, under Plate XXVI]. The flames rising from his shoulders are an emblem also likely to have an Iranian origin. Cf. Serindia, p. 874. Their flickering tongues, like the fluttering streamers and the freely floating stole, emphasize the Guardian-king’s rapid movement.
The same curling maroon cloud on which Vaiśravaṇa advances carries also his retinue of varied aspects. Before him to the right we see the graceful figure of a nymph bowing and presenting a dish of flowers. Her identity is uncertain; in form and attire she resembles the ‘Nymph of Virtue’ we have already met in the paintings of the Thousand-armed Avalokiteśvara. See Plates XVII, XLII. Of her rich attire may be specially noted the wide sleeves which almost sweep the ground, the acanthus-like leaves covering her shoulders, and the wreaths thrown over her arms.
The cortege behind the Lokapāla consists partly of demons, evidently representing the Yakṣas over whom he rules, and partly of figures purely human, which are clearly individualized but still await definite identification. Of the former, two in the background have the heads of monsters, with fiery hair and tusked jaws. One of them carries Vaiśravaṇa’s flag of the same elaborate design we have noted in Plate
Among the human attendants the most striking figure is that of a finely drawn aged man. He is clad only in a white skirt, with a scarf across the breast. His hair is tied in a topknot and is white, like his eyebrows and beard, all painted with minute care. His sunken features and the sidelong glance of his eyes are expressively rendered. In his right hand he carries a gilded cup (or Vajra?). Behind him we see a portly male figure with placid clean-shaven face and a high mitre-like head-dress from which drapery falls behind on the neck. He wears a green robe over what looks like a coat brocaded in a ‘Sassanian’ pattern and carries a flaming jewel on a gilded stand.
In the rear is a bearded muscular archer, preparing to shoot at a bat-like demon in the sky high up to the right. In the latter we can safely recognize a Garuḍa, the hunting of whom is a frequent motif in Turkestan frescoes, and whose winged figure is well known to Graeco-Buddhist sculpture also. Cf. Grünwedel, Altbuddhistische Kultstätten, pp. 282, 351, Fig. 583; Foucher, L’art greco-bouddhique du Gandhāra, ii. pp. 32 sqq. The drawing of the archer’s figure as he bends down to fit the arrow to the bow, while his gaze follows the flying Garuḍa, is remarkably firm and vigorous. On his head he carries a high conical cap of white, with metal boss at the top and wide upstanding brim. His dress comprises a blue tunic which leaves the right arm and breast bare, white breeches, and black top-boots. His purposeful figure in movement is cleverly set off by the serene appearance of a man standing in front with hands folded in adoration. He wears a full-sleeved maroon jacket over a flowing white under-robe and over his smooth black hair a gilded tiara of peculiar shape.
The special powers of Chinese pictorial art pervading the whole picture manifest themselves with particular clearness in the masterly spacing of the background. This shows the greenish-brown sea heaving in majestically rolling ridges of white-crested waves. Far away in admirably conveyed distance rises a range of blue and green mountains,  probably meant to represent the fabulous Mount Meru where Buddhist mythology locates the Guardian-kings of the Regions.
Wherever the eye falls in this small but exquisite picture we may appreciate the sure drawing with its cleanness of touch, the harmonious colouring, and the highly finished workmanship. But it is in this background that we can realize best to what extent the artist shared that understanding of the Chinese genius for the control of ordered fluent line and the power of suggestion in spacing.
Plate XLVI: Fragment with Child on Demon’s Hand
The fragment of a large paper painting (Ch. 00373) reproduced here … is of interest as it represents somewhat rare details in skilful execution, and also on account of its unusual technique. The picture, of which another fragment survives, has been drawn upon a fine ground laid over smooth buff paper. The colours delicately painted over this are bright and particularly pleasing by their softness, and I regret that their reproduction had to be forgone. The execution is more finished than that of any of the other paper paintings from Ch’ien-fo-tung. Of the subject of the whole painting it is impossible to say more than that it probably represented the ‘Maṇḍala’ of a Buddha or Bodhisattva.
Our fragment shows on the left, against a background of large-leaved flowering trees, a demon of dark blue body and limbs holding up with his hands a naked infant who leans towards him smiling and with arms stretched out. The infant’s form and features are exquisitely drawn with fluent lines expressive of baby-like plumpness and shaded in pink and white. He has black hair and a red trefoil mark on his forehead. The reddish-pink face of the demon bears a cleverly conveyed tender expression, which contrasts with his fierce features and shock of red and green hair. We have already met with the figure of a similar demon holding an infant in the group attending the Bodhisattvas on the right in Bhaiṣajyaguru’s Paradise as shown by Plate
On the right is seen a many-tiered umbrella hung with streamers and tasselled chains, as found often over the chief Bodhisattvas in large Paradise paintings (see Plate
Plate XLVII: Three Lokapāla Banners
The three silk banners which this Plate reproduces all depict Virūpākṣa, the Guardian-king of the West and, after Vaiśravaṇa, the most popular of the Lokapālas. When describing above his fine picture as seen in Plate
In the [first] banner … (Ch. lv. 0020), which is well preserved except at the top where the painting has broken and been attached to the head-piece (not shown) by a patch of purple silk, we see a good example of the Lokapāla type designated above as ‘Chinese’. Virūpākṣa stands with his feet planted on the back and head of his crouching demon cognizance and holding the drawn sword upright in his left hand. For a likely explanation of this unusual attitude, see above, p. 24, note 25. His face is middle-aged and serious, the oblique eyes slightly enlarged, and the iris painted a dark yellow. His coat of mail shows oblong scales all through from the shoulders to the skirt portion. The flesh is shaded light pink over the brownish white of the silk. The corslet is secured by broad shoulder-straps, probably of lacquer, here clearly marked. Beneath the hip-belt appear an apron and hip-flaps of shaped leather, providing additional protection. Round the lower edge of the belt hang loose rings, probably meant for the attachment of the scabbard and other equipment. The breeches are tucked into greaves, and the feet shod with plain sandals. The general colour effect is subdued owing to the prevalence of light brown and pale red tints.
The [next] painting … (Ch. lv. 0046) is broken at the top and has lost its banner accessories, but retains its colours in remarkable freshness. Virūpākṣa, turning slightly to the left, stands with his feet on the shoulder and knee of a squatting demon. He holds before him with both hands a long sword in a lacquered scabbard, whose point rests on the demon’s head. His face, large-cheeked and with strong chin, bears a pleasant expression. The oblique eyes with light iris gaze upwards.
The coat of mail painted yellow and red shows round-edged scales overlapping downwards as far as the hip-belt, while the skirt portion has oblong scales apparently overlapping upwards. Trefoil-shaped flaps of green leather give additional protection to the hips and abdomen. A sausage-shaped collar is fastened round the neck and over a brown mantle. Solid guards of lacquered leather protect both upper and fore arms. The legs are clad only in breeches tied below the knees and hanging loose to the ankles. The shoes of woven string are of some interest, as their make exactly corresponds to that of shoes brought to light by me from ruins of Han and later times. See Serindia, ii. p. 874; Pls. XXXVII, LIV. The elaborately jewelled head-dress is fitted with a red ‘cock’s crest’ at the back, and the halo behind is flame-edged.
The Chinese inscription describes the Lokapāla correctly as Virūpākṣa, ‘celestial king of the Western Region’. The work is carefully finished throughout, and the colours harmonious, though more opaque than usual in these banners.
The [next] banner (Ch. 0010) … is complete and excellently preserved. Virūpākṣa’s figure combines here characteristics of that Lokapāla type which may conveniently be called ‘Central-Asian’ with a treatment and certain details not unlike those in the ‘Chinese’ type.
The Lokapāla stands facing the spectator on the head and knee of a contorted demon. His right foot is placed on a higher level than the other, and the weight of the body thrown on the left hip. The right hand holds the naked sword aslant across the body and the left supports it at the breast. The face is heavy and with the frowning forehead, the snarling mouth, and glaring eyes bears a fiercer expression than usual. The large round eyes are level and the iris green. The hair, shown light blue, is bunched back behind the ears. The flesh is painted a pinkish red with but little shading.
The coat of mail from shoulders to skirt is uniformly made up of round-edged scales overlapping downwards; but their colouring varies in different parts. A jerkin of blue leather elaborately ornamented with metal-work appears above and below the mail corslet. The forearms are swathed in red draperies, which also show above the knees. The white leg-coverings are tucked into greaves which display elaborately scrolled metal-work, manifestly painted in with an eye mainly to decorative effect. Similar metal-work is shown  on the black shoes. The yellowish-brown colour of this metal-work, suggestive of bronze, is applied also to the solid metal tiara, with wing ornaments and high crown, which forms the head-dress.
Though the drawing is careful and the colours clear and fresh, much is lost in general effect through excessive concentration on detail and ornament. In the want of space and free line and in the resulting lack of spontaneity we are made to feel, as it were, the influence of non-Chinese models.
Plate XLVIII: Fragment with Figure of Demonic Warrior
This fine fragment of a large silk painting (Ch. 0098) … shows the head and upper part of the body of a figure demonic in look and of violent pose. No definite identification seems at present possible. If the trident-like weapon lifted up in the left hand might suggest a Lokapāla, there are to be noted against this the flames streaming back from the head and the total absence of armour. Again, if the ferocious look and pose would make us think of a Vajrapāṇi Dharmapāla, other difficulties arise from the unusual weapon, the fiery hair, and the want of exaggerated muscles. So it will be best to leave this fine figure unnamed and to rest content with an appreciation of its artistic merit.
The head, well preserved on the whole, shows a face demonic in features and convulsed with rage. It is painted dark grey with red lips and black hair. The eyes are distended and glaring in fury, the eyebrows contracted, and the forehead bowed with wrinkles. The widely grinning mouth shows the tongue and both rows of teeth. Excessively high cheek-bones and nose, bushy eyebrows, a moustache sweeping fiercely upwards, and stiff spreading beard and whiskers add their quota to the terrifying appearance of the head. The hair on the forehead passes black under a jewelled tiara; but what streams up from the whole head is a cone of red flame.
From the rest of the fragment all paint is lost. The outline drawing, however, remains of a body vigorous and muscular. But for jewelled chains, necklace, &c., it is nude to the hip-belt, over which appears pulled the edge of a skirt-like garment. A stole is gathered over the right upper arm, and the right hand is held before the breast, with fingers stiffly upturned and palm downwards. The left arm is lost, but the hand appears above grasping the staff of a weapon with barbed points.
The whole figure is drawn with admirable verve and freedom. Fragmentary as it is, it allows us to surmise what we have lost here of a work of true Chinese genius – and at the same time to realize what we owe to the safe hiding-place the Caves of the Thousand Buddhas have provided for so many other relics of art.
Photographs by British Museum
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