Selected works


Head of a monumental Buddha sculpture

Head of Buddha, Acq. no. 030.005.0003
© Stiftung DKM | Photo: SDKM

China, Northern Qi, 550 – 577 CE
White marble from Hebei, c. 100 cm H

This impressive, spectacular, large head is one of the rare monumental specimens that can be found outside of China and are presented in public space. One of the main works in the museum, a separate exhibition room is dedicated to him, which is a place for rest, reflection and … seduces.

The Buddha head shows an expression of deep inwardness and dignity. The eyes, half closed in meditation, are spanned by the lines of the brows in a high arc. The still undamaged nose is long and straight. The mouth with the powerfully curved lips shows a fine smile. These are facial features that are characteristic of sculptures from the Qingzhou discovery of the Northern Qi period. The locks of hair are knob-shaped and form regular rows, which cover the Uṣṇīṣa (Ushnisha), but leave the back of the skull uncovered. The larger-than-life statue was therefore conceived to be looked at face-to-face.
As can be seen from the color studies, the head was demonstrably painted in a cultic way up to the 19th century. The locks of hair are blue, the face is kept in a brownish tone. The unusually large head of a Buddha is believed to have come from a monumental statue of the Northern Qi period in the northern province of Hebei, where this type of marble is found.

Catalogue _ Museum DKM: Lines of quiet beauty / Linien stiller Schönheit