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Dunhuang art -- Avalokiteshvara as Saviour from Perils, ink and colours on silk

an227_l.jpg 73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

From Cave 17, Mogao, near Dunhuang, Gansu province, 73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

China  Five Dynasties or Northern Song Dynasty, mid-to late 10th century AD73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

Belief in help when suffering73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion, is show in his six-armed form seated on a lotus behind an altar. He can be identified by the small figure of the Buddha Amitabha seated in his headdress. His two upper arms hold the sun and the moon, his two lower arms hold a vase and a rosary and his two middle arms are in the vitarka mudra (gesture of teaching).73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

It was believed that if one called Avalokiteshvara's name when in danger, he would come to your aid. This is illustrated in scenes on either side. On the left from the top a figure pushed off a high cliff is miraculously supported by a cloud. In the middle a man escapes his fetters and at the bottom a man is preserved from the poisonous bites of a scorpion and a snake. On the right a sword is shown breaking into pieces, saving the man about to be executed. Below, two people are shown covering their heads to escape bad weather, and at the bottom a man is seemingly unharmed in the midst of a fire.73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

In the lower register of the painting donor figures are shown: a lady and a child on the left and two men on the right.73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

R. Whitfield, Art of Central Asia: The Ste-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha International Ltd., 1982-85)73eSilk Road Adventure & Private Tours - Silk Road China Tours

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