View right to left
front: Nepalese-Chinese-style bodhisattva proper left: Nepalese-Chinese-style bodhisattva back: Nepalese-Chinese-style bodhisattva

Nepalese-Chinese-style bodhisattva

Historical period(s)
Yuan dynasty, 13th century
Lacquer, cloth, traces of blue, gold, and green paint, and gold leaf
H x W x D: 58.5 x 43.3 x 29.5 cm (23 1/16 x 17 1/16 x 11 5/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Right hand repaired; great toe of right foot missing; left hand damaged.
Made in China, the style of this bodhisattva (enlightened being) is Nepalese, while the lacquer technique is Chinese. In the thirteenth century, the Mongol ruler Khubilai Khan (1215-1294) invited eighty Nepalese artist-monks to China to construct and adorn a monastery. One of the artists, the renowned Aniko, remained in China and founded the workshop in which this bodhisattva was undoubtedly made. The lacquer technique used is the "dry lacquer" technique, in which several layers of lacquer-impregnated cloth are arranged over a rough clay core and the finishing details are modeled in a paste-like lacquer mixture. Thin iron rods help support fragile parts. When the lacquer dries, the clay core is removed, leaving an exceptionally light sculpture for its size. This image was once painted and gilded, but only traces remain.
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Lacquer, Sculpture
bodhisattva, Buddhism, China, WWII-era provenance, Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368)
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is closed for renovation and reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Join us for our reopening celebration on October 14–15, 2017.