Collections: Asian Art: The Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim Hsuan-Tsang

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    81.287.14_IMLS_PS4.jpg 81.287.14_bw_IMLS.jpg

    The Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim Hsuan-Tsang

    • Medium: Ink and color on paper
    • Dates: 19th century
    • Period: Edo Period
    • Dimensions: 23 x 12 1/2 in. (58.4 x 31.8 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 81.287.14
    • Credit Line: Gift of Dr. Fred S. Hurst
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: The Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim Hsuan-Tsang, 19th century. Ink and color on paper, 23 x 12 1/2 in. (58.4 x 31.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Fred S. Hurst, 81.287.14
    • Image: overall, 81.287.14_IMLS_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
    • Record Completeness: Adequate (54%)
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    Recent Comments
    13:11 09/8/2010
    This is Xuanzang (aka Tang Seng (Tang Monk), or Tripitaka (3 Baskets)), who lived c602/3-664. Over a ban of the Tang Dynasty emperor, in 629 the monk secretly left the Chinese capital at Chang'an (now Xi'an) & basically walked to India via deserts, mountains, etc. He visited (in order) Hami, Turfan, Kucha, Aksu, Tashkent, Samarkand, Iron Gates, Termez, Kunduz, Balkh, Bamiyan, Kabul, Peshawar, Udyana in Swat, Taxila, Kashmir, Mathura, Kanyakubja, Ayodhya, Kausambi, Sravasti, Kapilavastu, Lumbini, Kusinagara, Sarnath, Varanasi, Vaisali, Patna, Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Amaravati, Nagarjunakonda, Kanchi, Khyber Pass, Kashgar, Khotan, & Dunhuang. That means he left via the northern Silk Road, Uzbekistan (Ferghana & Sogdiana), Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Swat, Kashmir, Pakistan, traveled across northern India & visited or studied at all the sacred sites of Sakyamuni Buddha's life, & returned via Afghanistan & the southern Silk Route. His journals are an invaluable record of the places he visited. 17 years after he left, he returned to Chang'an in 645 with numerous Buddhist sutras, which he then spent the rest of his life translating into Chinese. His travels formed the structure of the 16th century novel Journey to the West (Xiyouji), which stars the Monkey King as Xuanzang's companion & guardian during their arduous trip in search of the sacred books.
    By Doug White
    22:23 09/20/2010
    It is interesting that the emperor Taizong, whose ban on travel Xuanzang had defied, was still the emperor when Xuanzang returned. With advance word of Xuanzang's imminent arrival, Taizong welcomed him home to Changan (now Xi'an) with much imperial pomp & ceremony. He also bestowed imperial patronage on him to permit him to translate the sutras obtained.
    By Doug White
    10:05 05/14/2011
    seventeen years Xuanzang
    would spend and travel
    for the love of Buddhist Dharma
    and yet like Laozi he was
    nearly detained at the gates:
    but he left through the gates of Yumen;
    love of inquiry frees one of prohibitions

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