Buddhist Guardian King


Ming dynasty (1368–1644)

Not on view

The elaborately dressed figure with a flaming halo holding a bow and arrow is one of the Buddhist guardian kings of the four cardinal directions. (The arrow suggests he may be associated with the east, despite the inscription on the mounting, which identifies him as the guardian of the west.)

The face and hands as well as several segments of the costume, including parts of the body armor and helmet and the swirling ribbons to the figure's left and right, are made from applied textiles with embroidered details. The features of his broad face, which is mustached and lightly bearded, include a prominent nose and fierce, watchful eyes-characteristics often found in East Asian guardian figures.

Buddhist Guardian King, Hanging scroll; silk applique and embroidery on plain-weave silk, China

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