Identification and Creation
Object Number
1958.8
Title
Budong Mingwang (Acala Candamaharosana), "The Immovable One," One of the Five Great Wisdom Kings
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Pu-tung Ming-wang
Classification
Textile Arts
Work Type
hanging scroll
Date
dated 1764
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Period
Qing dynasty, 1644-1911
Culture
Chinese
Physical Descriptions
Medium
'Kesi' thangka mounted as a hanging scroll; silk in tapestry weave with some details painted on the surface in gold and light colors
Dimensions
image proper: H. 90.4 × W. 53.5 cm (35 9/16 × 21 1/16 in.)
silk mounting only: H. 157.5 × W. 73.3 cm (62 × 28 7/8 in.)
mounting, including cord and roller ends: H. 163 × W. 78.5 cm (64 3/16 × 30 7/8 in.)
mounting board: H. 170 × W. 94 cm (66 15/16 × 37 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Morse
Accession Year
1958
Object Number
1958.8
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions

Label Text: Buddhist Art: The Later Tradition (1993) , written 1993
Standing in a militant pose and holding the sword and the noose, the terrifying figure at the center of this scroll is Acala Candamaharosana (Chinese, Pu-tung Ming-wang), a wrathful deity belonging to the family of the Esoteric Buddha Aksobhya. Acala’s worship was performed in great secrecy and none but the initiated were allowed to behold his image. Apart from being one of the finest examples of a tapestry-weave tanka, this scroll is of great art-historical importance because it boasts three inscriptions on its reverse, one in Chinese, the second in Manchu, and the third in Tibetan; dated in 1764 and including the name of the deity, the Chinese inscription indicates that the tanka was made for the imperial court. The style of this image is so closely related to the Tibetan tankas, however, that, if the artists were Chinese, they must have copied a Tibetan model. Especially noteworthy are the soft and muted colors of the tranquil landscape, which contrast strongly with the representations of the wrathful deities. The work is so refined that it is clear the Ch’ien-lung court must have employed the finest available craftsmen. This tanka was done entirely in tapestry weave (k’o-ssu), each color woven with a different set of weft threads; it is so tightly woven that the small gaps that often appear between areas of different color in tapestries are virtually absent here. Although there is no embroidery at all in this image, a few details are painted on the surface with gold pigment and light colors rather than woven into the fabric: small plants in the foreground, vajras, some details of the clothing and jewelry, etc. The dark outlines of the rocks in the foreground are woven with dark blue, and occasionally black, silk thread, but the shading in the rocks was generally achieved with washes of light-colored pigment.

Publication History

The "Kesi Thangka" of Vighnantaka, pp.136-139

Pratapaditya Pal, The Art of Tibet, exh. cat., Asia Society Museum (New York, 1969), pp. 139-140, no. 25 (color plate between pp. 32-33)

Marsha Weidner, ed., Latter Days of the Law: Images of Chinese Buddhism, 850-1850, exh. cat., Spencer Museum of Art (Lawrence, Kansas, 1994), pp. 256-259, cat. 14

Francesca Herndon-Consagra, Reflections of the Buddha, exh. cat., Pulitzer Arts Foundation (St. Louis, MO, 2011-2012), p. VII (detail); p. 26 (installation Image); p. 34 (color plate); p. 42, no. 13

Exhibition History

Reflections of the Buddha, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, 09/09/2011 - 03/10/2012

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu