Buddha Triad

  • China, Northern Wei period
  • 6c
  • Limestone
Catalogue Entry

In the middle stands a buddha flanked by two bodhisattvas, each on a lotus flower. The large flame halo of the buddha embraces the triad, and between the buddha and the bodhisattvas are two line-engraved priests. The figures of the triad are dressed in Chinese-style robes. The front and the back of the flame halo are line engraved with a mix of Buddhist themes (a group of seven buddhas, Maitreya with legs crossed or seated in half-lotus position with one hand lightly touching the cheek as if deep in thought, Buddha’s illustrated biography, stories of Buddhist lay followers, etc.) and Chinese themes (the sun and the moon, a “cosmic tree,” birds, etc.), showing the fusion of a popularized Buddhism and local elements. On the halo’s sides and back, on their lower sections, the figure and name of the donors who offered the triad image are incised. The Buddha and bodhisattvas all have smiles as if gently accepting the wishes of the donors.