Art/ Collection/ Art Object

大理國(十一至十二世紀) 青銅鎏金東方 持國天王像
Guardian Protector of the East (Dongfang chiguo tianwang)

Dali kingdom (938–1253)
11th–12th century
Partially gilt arsenical bronze; lost-wax cast
H. 6 1/8 in. (15.6 cm); W. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm); D. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Bequest of Dorothy Graham Bennett, 2001
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
Guardians, 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.
Probably Yunnan Province

[ A & J Speelman Ltd. , London, until 2001; sold to MMA]
Related Objects

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin)

Artist: Date: 12th century
Accession Number: 42.25.28
Date: 12th century Medium: Gilt arsenical bronze; lost-wax cast Accession: 42.25.28 On view in:Gallery 207

Manjushri, Bodhisattva of Wisdom, with Five Knots of Hair (Wuji Wenshu)

Artist: Date: mid-11th century
Accession Number: 67.228
Date: mid-11th century Medium: Gilt bronze; lost-wax cast Accession: 67.228 On view in:Gallery 207

Standing Shiva

Artist: Date: ca. 13th century
Accession Number: 1979.508
Date: ca. 13th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1979.508 On view in:Gallery 240

Standing Shiva (?)

Artist: Date: 11th century
Accession Number: 1988.355a–c
Date: 11th century Medium: Gilt-copper alloy, silver inlay Accession: 1988.355a–c On view in:Gallery 249

The Bodhisattva Padmapani Lokeshvara

Artist: Date: 11th–12th century
Accession Number: 1982.220.2
Date: 11th–12th century Medium: Copper alloy with gilding and semiprecious stones Accession: 1982.220.2 On view in:Gallery 252