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ID number:  BIRBI-43.3
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Head of a Boddhisattva
Object type:  Sculpture
Culture:  Chinese
Date made:  Early 20th century
Materials:  Limestone, with traces of paint
Measurements:  58.4 cm high
Provenance:  Purchased from the United Aid to China Fund, March 1943, for £75

When acquired this was thought to be a fragment of a full-length colossal statue made for a Buddhist temple in China in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). A Bodhisattva is someone who has reached the wisdom of Buddha, but who remains in this world. Motivated by compassion and a desire to help suffering humanity, they choose to serve as intermediaries for the Buddha. These qualities are here expressed in a face with a serene smile and a gentle expression. The head is crowned with three figures, with the Buddha on his lotus throne in the centre. It is now believed that this head is a modern pastiche, made for the European market.

Notes:  Probably made in China

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