Bodhisattava Head

Read about this bronze Chinese head, one of the first donations by Albert Bender to the Museum.

Bodhisattva Head

This Bodhisattva head was one of the first donations to the National Museum of Ireland by Albert Bender. The dealer involved in acquiring it for Bender was Henry H. Hart of Oriental Arts, San Francisco.

Much detail is given by Hart as to the object’s background and is of great interest in describing the tumultuous state of Chinese society in the aftermath of the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911:

‘The Bronze head... was found in a small town in Shanxi Province when the temples were destroyed at the order of Feng Yu-hsiang in 1927, and brought to Peking. The head belonged to a statue, several of which stood on the altar of the temple.’

Feng Yu-hsiang (1882-1948) was a Chinese general who held various military positions under the Qing Dynasty (up to 1911). Eventually he supported the Nationalists, becoming minister of war and vice-chairman of the Executive Yuan (Council) at Nanjing in 1928.