Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Bowl with a dancing apsara, or celestial maiden

  • loan


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • The Barlow Collection by the University of Sussex

    The Barlow Collection

    The inscription records this bowl as item no.14 of tribute offerings for the Princely Residence of [the late] Prince Wenzhong in the year dingmao of the Taiping period. A large number of gold and silver vessels dedicated to Prince Wenzhong (AD 941–1011) are recorded, including several bowls of similar form.

    The shallow rounded bowl has no foot and the sides are indented into six lobes. The rim is surrounded by pearl beading and the centre inside is decorated with a dancing apsara (winged celestial maiden in Buddhism), depicted in a lively pose, her legs crossed and one slightly raised, one arm raised, holding long ribbons, wearing a tall tiara-like headdress and a bejewelled necklace, and loosely draped trousers. The figure is surrounded by quatrefoil florets on a ring-punched ground, enclosed by a link-chain border, and the designs are picked out in gilding. The design is faintly visible on the underside, where it is surrounded by a 17-character inscription.

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