Celestial Musician

Celestial Musician

1300s

Embroidery; silk and gold thread over two layers of cotton

Overall: 66.5 x 45 cm (26 3/16 x 17 11/16 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1987.145

Description

Although a number of Buddhist textiles produced in the Sino-Tibetan style survive, Central Asian embroideries from the same period are exceedingly rare. Here, a goddess standing on a lotus support and playing a bowed lute may be the personification of the sense of hearing. In Buddhism, the five senses were represented as female deities, each a different color (in this case, blue). The style of the figure, her hair, the form of her crown, the nervously ruffled hem, the scrolling scarves, and the rainbow halo with rays are Central Asian. This figure originally was part of a large hanging.

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