The Freud Museum

Head of a Bodhisattva

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3151, Head of a Bodhisattva, Ming Dynasty; 15th 17th century

Culture: Chinese
Material: Cast iron
Dimensions: 9 5/8 x 6 5/8 x 5 _ in 24.5 x 16.8 x 14.5 cm

This hollow cast head was probably once a part of a standing statue of Buddha’s attendant, perhaps a bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas are kind creatures, who out of compassion have chosen to postpone nirvana until all others have achieved it. This bodhisattva would have been placed, probably with another identical one, flanking Buddha in a temple or monastery.

Freud’s bodhisattva has typical large ears draped with ribbons or scarves. Also typical is the hat shaped like an Indian stupa, a shrine housing a Buddhist relic. Four holes at the base of the hat may have once been attachment points for an ornate pendant crown.

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