Head of a Bodhisattva


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 206

This head once belonged to an attendant bodhisattva, which had been carved into the back wall of Cave 21 at Tianlongshan, a small complex consisting of twenty-four cave shrines and a wooden temple. Located about twenty-five miles southwest of Taiyuan, in Shanxi province, Tianlongshan opened in the mid-sixth century and was revived in the early eighth century. The history of the site is recorded on a large stone stele, erected in 706 by a General Xun and his wife, who were visiting the site at that time.

Head of a Bodhisattva, Sandstone with pigment, China

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