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Title

Guardian figure

1368-1644

Artists

Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Guardian figure of Wei To
    Place where the work was made
    China
    Period
    Ming dynasty 1368 - 1644 → China
    Date
    1368-1644
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    bronze coated with gold
    Dimensions
    140.0 x 60.5 x 50.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of Captain Francis Hixson 1905
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    1309
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

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  • About

    This commanding gilt bronze figure is Wei To, a military Bodhisattva who protects the Buddhist religion and whose image is usually placed in the first hall of a Buddhist monastery. Dressed as a Chinese warrior in the elaborate armour worn by military heroes, and originally holding a sceptre-shaped assault weapon (now missing), this figure reportedly came from the Palace of Ten Thousand Years outside Beijing. The lion's headcap emphasises the uncontrollable ferocity of Wei To. The lion is not native to China, but appears in Buddhism as the defender of law and protector of sacred buildings. The Tang dynasty (618-906) is usually credited as the golden age of Chinese Buddhist sculpture because of the decline of Buddhism after the great persecution of 845 and the accompanying destruction of many images. However, Buddhist figures continued to be made, and Ming figures are distinguished by the technical skill of their casting in which every detail is sharp and vigorous.

    'Asian Art', AGNSW Collections, 1994, pg. 204.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    China

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 6 publications