Standing Bodhisattva with a Parasol
This statue is from the Bezeklik Thousand-Buddha Caves. These caves are located in the Xinjiang autonomous region of China, within the Uyghur territory, and are about 50 kilometers to the northeast of the city of Turpan. The construction of the caverns began during the Tang dynasty, around the 7th century, and came to its full height around the 10th to 11th century during the Gaochang Uyghur rule.
Paintings in the Pranidhi (or vow) style are often seen in the Bezeklik Caves. These paintings show the Bodhisattva Gautama Buddha in his former incarnation, talking to one of the Buddhas of the past, praying to enter nirvana, and being given the prophecy that he would become the Buddha in the future. These images show the deep devotion of the Uyghur people to this story.
This painting is a part of the mural prayer pieces in the Bezeklik Caves, and it is a colorful depiction of a Bodhisattva in armor, holding a long spear with a banner, and extolling praise upon Buddhas of the past. This spear was a type of flag that was often placed inside or outside of Buddhist halls, carried during ceremonial processions, and generally used as a decoration or sign.
This mural painting from the Bezeklik Caves shows both how the Gaochang Uyghur Empire was influenced by Chinese culture, and the unique style developed by the empire itself.