VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Thangka
1931.48.141c
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

These three “kindred” figures, together with twenty or so other images of Buddhist deitiest in the collection sent by Gösta Montell to the museum later to become the Museum of World Culture, are merely a fragment of the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist pantheon, the diversity of which mirrors both the complicated history of Buddhist doctrine and its complex conception of the world and soteriology. At the same time, however, they are also used in the daily observance and devotion of simple faith.

History of the Object
Amitayus is also present among the deities in the collection in the form of 250 identical small images painted on a single Thangka painting. Duplication of Buddha images ranks as a good work. There are temples with “a thousand” statues and caves of “ten thousand” Buddhas carved in relief – “thousand” and “ten thousand” here meaning in great or very great numbers. Paintings often with a very large number of more or less identical images covering an entire wall, or a scroll painting, are much more common.

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Type
Textile 
Materials
painting on silk 
Measurements
Height 125 cm  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China; Tibet 
Geography
China; Tibet 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th century; (?) 
Function
worship 
Acquisition
Sven Hedin, the famous Swedish explorer, whose early expeditions were undertaken single-handed or with just a few native companions, organised his last great expedition, between 1927 and 1935, as a major research project. His many European and Chinese assistants included Gösta Montell, who in the late 1920s was on the staff of the Ethnography Department of the Gothenburg Museum. On his travels in China as Sven Hedin’s expert adviser on purchase of “Ethnographica”, he collected large quantities of material for the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm. On the instructions of Erland Nordenskiöld, his teacher, Montell also dispatched a large collection of Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian artefacts to Gothenburg, including a number of Buddhist statues and paintings. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum of World Culture, Sweden 
Museum
Museum of World Culture 
Credit line
 

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