Title:The Bodhisattva Kuan-yin and Flying ApsarasArtist:Artist UnknownDate:Northern Sung dynastyCreation Place:Asia, China, Honan Province, Shansi border (?)Credit Line:Gift of C.T. Loo, Inc.Accession Number:50.41.1
These dry fresco paintings representing Buddhist deities were originally part of a larger composition, probably a paradise scene which adorned the wall opposite the main entrance of a temple located on the Hunan Shansi border in north China. The serene and imposing figure is the bejeweled bodhisattva Kuan-yin. It was located to the left of a central, larger image of Kuan-yin which, in turn was flanked on the right by a third rendition of the same diety. Interspersed between these three principal deities were standing bodhisattvas and apsaras, the flying angels that served as celestial attendants to the more important members of the Buddhist cosmology. The walls of Chinese palaces, tombs and temples had been decorated with paintings since the late bronze age. Unfortunately very few pre-Yuan (14th century) Buddhist frescos have survived.