China, early Ming dynasty, 1368-1424 / Thangka with the Seventh Bodhisattva / 1368 - 1424China, early Ming dynasty, 1368-1424
Thangka with the Seventh Bodhisattva
1368 - 1424

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Dates/Places: China
Creator Active Place: China
Creator Name-CRT: China, early Ming dynasty, 1368-1424
Title: Thangka with the Seventh Bodhisattva
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1368
Creation End Date: 1424
Creation Date: 1368 - 1424
Object Type: Textiles
Classification Term: Embroidery
Materials and Techniques: embroidery, silk and gold thread on silk satin ground
Dimensions: Overall: 43.8cm x 19.7cm, Sheet with border: 43.2cm x 21.3cm
Inscriptions: Penned on the reverse is a Tibetan inscription that translates as "the Seventh Bodhisattva."
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1991.2
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Context: This small thangka, or icon, was embroidered in China but preserved in a Tibetan monastery. In the middle of its three registers is a bodhisattva, a person who according to Buddhism has achieved a high state of spiritual enlightenment but has refrained from attaining the final, perfected state of a buddha in order to benefit humanity. He is seated on a lotus throne between two columns, each supported by a vase and surmounted by a makara (a fanciful water creature). The beasts' tails become lotus scrollsforming an arch over the bodhisattva. The red color of the figure together with the jar supported by a lotus next to his right arm identifies the bodhisattva as Amitaprabha. In the lower register is a vase from which issue lotus flowers supporting Buddhist symbols. The brightly colored silk floss and gold thread against the dark blue of the silk ground fabric give the thangka a jewel-like appearance. The embroidery is worked in a technique known as needle painting. Delicate shading and modulation from onecolor to another, resembling painting, have been achieved by predominantly satin, interlocked satin, and long and short stitches. This icon was originally part of a set. On the back is a Tibetan inscription identifying the figure as the Seventh Bodhisattva. Another from the same set, now in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, is similarly identified on the back as representing the Tenth Bodhisattva. Because tantric Buddhist texts classified bodhisattvas into groups of six, eight, and sixteen, these two embroideries must have belonged to a set of sixteen that may have been created as consecration material for a Tibetan Buddhist temple. Parts of a painted set dating from the late fourteenth to early fifteenth century are similar in size to this embroidered example. Consecration thangkas were typically hung inside a temple along the beams and side walls. A.W.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1991.2
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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