Women and East Asian Art

Bodhisattva III

In order to stay with the theme of Bodhisattvas in China, the third caption will focus on a Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara figure found from the Metropolitan Museum website. This figure may appear very different than the first two Bodhisattvas because of his seated posture, but there are a lot more similarities between them in the details. Beginning with the hair and headpiece, this Bodhisattva fits the typical mold with an extravagant miniature Buddha sculpture in his hair which is most likely a tribute to the Buddha from the Bodhisattvas. Similar to the Bodhisattva of Compassion, his hair is neatly weaved along his hairline underneath the headpiece. His hair also extends down onto his shoulders like both the Bodhisattvas prior. His face retains a very similar structure to that of the Bodhisattva of Compassion with a very life-like style making it clear that they are portraying a human and any type of god or animal. He also has a Urna on his forehead, this Urna is the most visible between the three as it seems to be made of a different material than the rest of the figure. Another place where a different material than the figure is used is on the necklace, here there is a bright red stone or mineral that attracts the eye of the viewer. Like the first two figures as well, the necklace or full body jewelry is covering his bare chest which may be intentional in order to display that these figures are men despite some of their somewhat feminine looking features with their hair, clothing and jewelry. According to the Metropolitan Museum website, the reason for this Bodhisattva’s seated position could be because he is in the Pure Land of the Buddha Amitabha which is the only other exception where the Bodhisattva appears seated in a meditating position.

Tim Carlson

Bodhisattva

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