Head Of Bodhisattva


Head of Bodhisattva, ca. 500

  • On View


Dimensions: 16 × 8 1/2 × 3 3/4 in. (40.6 × 21.6 × 9.5 cm)Other (with base): 20 3/4 × 5 × 4 3/4 in. (52.7 × 12.7 × 12.1 cm)

Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, New York, 2014.23

In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is either an enlightened (bodhi) existence (sattva) or an enlightened being. Traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who, motivated by great compassion, has put off entering paradise in order to help others attain enlightenment. Since the bodhisattva had never fully renounced worldly possessions, they are usually depicted with flowing hair, earlobes stretched from heavy earrings, and ornate crowns. Once part of a larger figure, this narrow, elongated head is typical of 6th century Buddhist sculpture in China.

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