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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Dates/Places: China
Creator Active Place: China
Creator Name-CRT: China, Tangut Xia dynasty (1032-1227), early 13th century
Title: Thangka with Vighnantaka
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1200
Creation End Date: 1233
Creation Date: early 13th century
Object Type: Textiles
Materials and Techniques: tapestry with narrow tabby border near bottom; silk and pearls
Dimensions: Overall: 102.3cm x 74cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1992.72
Credit Line: Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Context: The Buddhist deity Vighnantaka plays a protective role, destroying obstacles that stand in the way of spiritual enlightenment. Fierce and extremely powerful in appearance, he holds a noose in his left hand and a sword in his right, while standing on theprostrate bodies of the god Shiva and the elephant-headed god Ganesha. Engulfing all three is an aureole of flames through which members of Vighnantaka's entourage charge, brandishing weapons. The scene, including the aureole, is supported on a lotus throne and set within a floral vine scroll. Beneath the lotus throne are five dakinis (demigoddesses embodying wisdom) flanked by smaller figures of Vighnantaka. Above the central scene are the Five Transcendent Buddhas. A scrolling floral vine with flowers supporting Buddhist symbols borders the entire thangka (icon). The Tibetan style of this work reflects the close ethnic and cultural ties that linked Tibetans with the Tangut peoples of Tangut Xia. Not only did Tibetan Buddhism predominate in these regions, but during the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, Tibetan clerics served as imperial preceptors at the Tangut court. Tangut kesi (silk tapestry) are exceedingly rare. One, very similar in both design and style, includes the portrait of a knownTibetan historian who died in 1216. Because an inscription states that it was woven as a gift for him, it was probably made before his death. A third kesi with the figure of Green Tara was excavated in the former Xixia territories, from the ruins of thegarrison city of Khara Khoto. Not only does it share a number of decorative elements with this Vighnantaka thangka, but the trapeze shape common to the two typically occurs in Tangut painted icons as well. A.W.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1992.72
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art
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