Stele with the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) and Mahasthamaprapta (Dashizi)

Period: Tang dynasty (618–907)

Date: mid- to late 7th century

Culture: China (Henan province)

Medium: Limestone with traces of pigment

Dimensions: H. 64 1/2 in. (163.8 cm); W. 35 3/4 in. (90.8 cm); D. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1930

Accession Number: 30.122

Description

The two bodhisattvas seen here can be identified by the symbols on their headdresses: the figure on the right is Avalokiteshvara (as indicated by the presence of a small Buddha), and the figure on the left, wearing the symbol of a vase, is Mahasthamaprapta. The latter bodhisattva, who represents wisdom, is not found as an independent icon in Buddhist texts and art. Instead, he is usually part of a triad that includes both Avalokiteshvara and the Buddha Amitabha, who is one of the three Buddhas represented on the reverse of this stele; it seems likely that the two bodhisattvas were meant to serve as their attendants.

Related