Quantcast
Videos ()
Ink Painting and the Rinpa Tradition

Close

Guardian of the East (Dongfangchiguo tianwang)

Period:
Dali kingdom (937–1253)
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
  • Description

    Guardians of various types, 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.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
58453

Close