Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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元 緙絲 須彌山曼陀羅
Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru

Period:
Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)
Date:
14th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Silk tapestry (kesi)
Dimensions:
Overall: 33 x 33 in. (83.8 x 83.8cm) Mount: 37 1/4 x 38 x 2 3/8 in. (94.6 x 96.5 x 6 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Tapestries
Credit Line:
Purchase, Fletcher Fund and Joseph E. Hotung and Michael and Danielle Rosenberg Gifts, 1989
Accession Number:
1989.140
Not on view
The elaborate tapestry-woven mandala, or cosmic diagram, illustrates Indo-Himalayan imagery introduced to China along with the advent of Esoteric Buddhism. At the center is the mythological Mount Meru, represented by an inverted pyramid topped by a lotus, a Buddhist symbol of purity. Traditional Chinese images for the sun (three-legged bird) and moon (rabbit) appear at the mountain’s base. The landscape vignettes at the cardinal directions represent the four continents of Indian mythology but follow the artistic conventions of Chinese-style “blue-and-green” landscapes. The dense floral border, with the four vases in the four corners, parallels the imagery of central Tibet, particularly monasteries with ties to the Yuan court.
Cleveland Museum of Art. "When Silk Was Gold," October 20, 1997–January 4, 1998.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art," October 5, 2003–January 4, 2004.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Chinese Textiles of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties," April 1, 2005–July 25, 2005.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty," September 28, 2010–January 2, 2011.

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