Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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大理國(十一至十二世紀) 青銅鎏金東方 持國天王像
Guardian Protector of the East (Dongfang chiguo tianwang)

Period:
Dali kingdom (938–1253)
Date:
11th–12th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Partially gilt arsenical bronze; lost-wax cast
Dimensions:
H. 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm); W. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm); D. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 2001
Accession Number:
2001.77
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
Guardians, particularly the four associated with the cardinal directions, play an important role in Buddhism and are most frequently shown within larger groupings of divinities. Here, the Guardian Protector of the East sits upon a demon symbolic of the obstacles that must be overcome to attain enlightenment, such as egoism and greed. In most Chinese imagery, the Guardian of the East brandishes a sword, but he is shown with a bow and arrow in the southwest province of Yunnan, which from the tenth to the thirteenth century was under the control of the independent Dali kingdom. The inclusion of arsenic in the copper alloy used to cast this sculpture is also typical of Yunnan.
Probably Yunnan Province

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