Not on view

Hiten (Sanskrit, apsaras), bodhisattvas who fly on clouds around the Buddha, are often represented playing musical instruments. They are important elements in the representation of his realm and appear on the rim of mandorlas behind statues of the Buddha and on the walls of Buddhist halls. While East Asian hiten are wingless, those from India and Central Asia tend to be winged and in this respect may be associated with the angels of Christianity, who perhaps evolved from the winged deities of ancient Iran. Unlike angels, however, hiten never seem to have acquired a spiritual function. Buddhist airborne deities' ability to fly is suggested by their fluttering scarves, their body postures, and their placement in the Buddha's realm. The strong modeling of this hiten, suggesting the large statue that it originally accompanied, reflects a tenth-century date.

#8837. Hiten

Hiten, Cypress, Japan

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