Women and East Asian Art

Bodhisattva II

This Bodhisattva is from 14th-18th century China. It is a much smaller figure than the Bodhisattva of Compassion, standing only eleven inches tall. This is a more traditional size of Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. The figure is made from Ivory, which was not necessarily rare at the time, but much less commonly used than wood, stone, or metal. The detail on this piece is dominated by the Bodhisattva’s hair which  draws the viewers eye to the top of the figure. There is a pattern of flowers and curls across her head which lead into a head piece that stands tall and holds up two ribbons from above his head which fall down over his body. It seems that the ribbons are being blown by wind which would suggest that he is supposed to be outside. Another aspect that suggests that he is outside is the locus flower throne that he is standing upon suggesting he is out in the nature of china. Similar to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, he is wearing some form of full body jewelry from his neck to his feet. This Bodhisattva also presents the Varada Mudra hand signal which is symbolizes the fulfillment of wishes. This figure, similarly to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, has a very vertical trend through it all the way from how the hair cascades down to the jewelry traversing her entire body, even her hand signal remains vertical. The locus throne, similar to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, is not very wide which allows the figure to keep its slim, vertical structure. Even though this figure is much different from the Bodhisattva of Compassion, it still maintains some of the same key attributes of all Bodhisattvas.

Tim Carlson


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