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A work made of limestone with traces of polychromy.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of limestone with traces of polychromy.


Tang dynasty (618–906), c. 725/50



About this artwork

In eighth-century China, Buddhist sculptors adopted new standards of secular beauty for spiritual figures. Whereas images of the Buddha appear sternly formal, bodhisattvas, the merciful deities that guide men toward salvation, often display more humanistic features. This bodhisattva’s graceful proportions, upswept hair, sinuous drapery, and delicate jewelry convey an appealing physical elegance. Seated informally, the deity is poised to step down from its pedestal.

Together with a large seated Buddha and another attendant bodhisattva in the Art Institute collection (1930.83, 1930.84), this sculpture came to the museum in 1930 with a note of its discovery in a temple known as Cangfosi in northern Hebei province. Neither archaeological nor written records have been located to confirm this reported site. The scale and stone medium of these figures suggest that they were commissioned for a cave temple or shrine a chamber carved into the face of a mountain or cliff.


On View, Gallery 101


Arts of Asia




China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

725 CE–750 CE


Limestone with traces of polychromy


157.5 × 80.6 cm (62 × 31 3/4 in.); Diam.: 80.6 cm (31 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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