Moving out of the Tibetan Period
26 February 2021 - Imre Galambos (Cambridge)
Moving out of the Tibetan Period: Stein Painting 3 from Dunhuang
public online lecture at the BuddhistRoad project, CERES, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Stein painting 3 (Ch.xxxviii.005) at the British Museum is a silk painting with a symmetrical composition of two Avalokiteśvara figures facing each other. With 147.3 × 105.3 cm in size, this is among the larger paintings from Dunhuang. At the top centre of the composition, between the two figures is a donor inscription inside a yellow cartouche. The inscription contains no date but has been dated to the mid-ninth century on the basis of a supposed reference to the Tibetan control of the region. Imre Galambos examines the inscription and argues that it does not refer to the Tibetan rule of Dunhuang but is simply about a woman who lives away from her original home. His presentation also shows that we can improve on the reading of the inscription, which in turn modifies our translation. In view of these considerations, the manuscript almost certainly dates to the tenth century.