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: Cloisonne stupa with gilt ornaments detail: Cloisonne stupa with gilt ornaments

Cloisonne stupa with gilt ornaments

Artist: Imperial workshop
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign, mid- to late 18th century
Metal, enamel, gilt
H x W x D: 66.6 x 24.8 x 28.1 cm (26 1/4 x 9 3/4 x 11 1/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
This cloisonn stupa was made during the reign of the Qianlong emperor (r. 1735-96), who was a follower of Tibetan Buddhism. Its unusual elaborateness, including the multi-tiered base and stairs that recall imperial architecture, suggest this was commissioned at the Qing court. It is hollow and was originally probably filled with prayer slips, and would have been created as an altar furnishing or offering to a Lamist Buddhist temple. The spire has thirteen rings that represent parasols--symbols of honor--and also allude to the stages along the path to Enlightenment. The stupa is decorated with the Eight Auspicious Buddhist Symbols and lotus scrolls. Some imagery incorporates popular Chinese lore, such as the gilt bat that appears above the aperture, inside of which a small throne represents the presence of the Buddha. In China, bats are a symbol of good fortune, but here it is rendered with "feathery" wings to simultaneously recall the Buddhist guardian figure of a garuda, a bird-like creature.
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceremonial Object, Cloisonne
bat, Buddhism, China, lotus, Qianlong reign (1736 - 1796), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), stupa
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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