6174: A Rare Grey Stone Buddhist Stele, Tang Dynasty
A Rare Grey Stone Buddhist Stele, The truncated upper section deeply carved to the front with the Buddha seated on a stepped pedestal throne with his right hand in the 'Abhaya' mudra, between figures of standing Luohan and Bodhisattva on either side, further flanked by two Lokapalas, all above three niches framing images of kneeling devotees and a central censer supported by a lotus plinth, inscriptions in austere Chinese characters appearing on three sides - to the reverse, to one side of the stele, and to the front of the rectangular base; with a matching wood stand. Tang Dynasty, Dated 679 A.D., 14 3/4 h x 11 1/2 w x 5 d inches (17.5 x 29 x 12.7 cm) excluding wood base Provenance: Purchased from Mayuyama & Co. in 1966. [Overall wear, weathering. An approximate 6.5 cm separating crack notable to one side of the stele. Losses and damage in various places. The inscription to the side of the upper section may have been added during the 10th century as indicated by the writing and the slight difference in the style of the carved calligraphy. This condition report states major condition issues only.] Note: The inscription on the front of the base can be translated as "Dedicated by the family members and the Buddhist disciple Chang in memory of his deceased mother, in the sixth month of the fourth year during the reign of the Empress Wu in the Great Tang Period (679 A.D.)." The inscription on the reverse side of the stele can be translated as "[Wishing] to see the Vairocana Buddha often, with the company of many disciples, [together] we practice and participate in meditational exercise".