A gilt-bronze figure of an apsara, Late Northern Wei - Northern Qi dynasty

北魏末至北齊 鎏金銅飛天像

Details

A gilt-bronze figure of an apsara
Late Northern Wei - Northern Qi dynasty
北魏末至北齊 鎏金銅飛天像

Width 2¾ in., 7 cm.

PROVENANCE
Collection of Elizabeth Stafford (1928-2018).

來源
伊麗莎白 • 斯塔福德(1928-2018)收藏

LITERATURE
Odyssey of an Art Collector: Unity in Diversity – 5000 Years of Art, Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, 1966, cat. no. 88

出版
《Odyssey of an Art Collector: Unity in Diversity – 5000 Years of Art》,Delgado Museum of Art (現紐奧良藝術博物館),紐奧良,1966年,編號88

This delightful small fragment is of an apsara, attributed to the Northern Wei - Northern Qi dynasty. Apsaras, divine female spirits of the clouds and water, were used to enliven and animate votive altars, Buddhist triad groups, and cave temples. In these contexts, the representation of the principal subjects, particularly the Buddha with attendant bodhisattvas and arhats, was iconographically proscribed by sutras and contemporaneous religious treatises. By contrast, the treatment of secondary elements in sculptures and cave paintings allowed for greater artistic freedom. It is in this peripheral imagery that artists expressed their unique creative vision, and experimented with the boundaries of pictorial convention. Another bronze sculpture of an apsara in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, is illustrated in Hugo Munsterberg, Chinese Buddhist Bronzes, Tokyo, 1967, pl. 97.
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