Skip Navigation

Torso of a Bodhisattva

Asian Art

This sculpture from Tianlongshan (Heavenly Dragon Mountain) exemplifies the aesthetic ideal of the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618–907). With its fleshy modeling and voluptuousness, it reveals a naturalism that may be influenced by the artistic styles of contemporaneous India. The drapery is integrated with the structure of the figure in a naturalistic way, and though fragmentary, the piece displays the graceful linear geometry characteristic of the Tang visual vocabulary. Carved in high relief in a finely grained white stone, the figure wears a royal costume whose folds of drapery emphasize the torso and define the body's rounded form. The pectoral ornament and long scarf are typical Tang elements in Buddhist sculpture, accentuated by traces of red-brown color.

MEDIUM Limestone, traces of polychrome
DATES 7th–8th century
DYNASTY Tang Dynasty
PERIOD Tang Dynasty
DIMENSIONS 13 x 22 x 6 x 23 1/2 in., 36.5 lb. (33 x 55.9 x 15.2 x 59.7 cm, 16.56kg)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Poster
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The object is a stone sculpture depicting a standing figure of a bodhisattva. The sculpture is carved in high relief (the reverse and the back edge of the sides of the sculpture are uncarved). The sculpture is leaning slightly towards the proper right with the proper right arm down and the proper left arm raised at the elbow. The figure is partially draped with fabric. A white ground layer exists over much of the front surface of the sculpture. Traces of pigment, red, brown, blue and black, are noticeable on the front of the sculpture. Condition: The object is in poor condition. Problems include loose joints, an unstable mount, flaking pigment and an overall friable stone surface.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Torso of a Bodhisattva, 7th–8th century. Limestone, traces of polychrome, 13 x 22 x 6 x 23 1/2 in., 36.5 lb. (33 x 55.9 x 15.2 x 59.7 cm, 16.56kg). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Poster, 1996.217. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1996.217_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1996.217_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.