The Journey

Traveling Shrine

  • 61
  • Southeast Asia
  • 17th century
  • Silk, gold-wrapped thread, and gold cloth
  • H. 11 1/4 x W. 7 x D. 4 in. (28.6 x 17.8 x 10.2 cm)
  • Peabody Essex Museum, Museum Purchase, 2001, E301682

The exterior doors of this lightweight traveling shrine are decorated with mythical animals. The interior of each door is embroidered with five colorful clouds on gold silk. Inside the shrine is an image of a deity, possibly the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, crafted of gold-wrapped, needle-looped thread. While the exact place of production of this shrine remains unclear, the craftsperson who made it or the person who commissioned it was likely of Chinese ethnicity; a Chinese inscription on the back of the shrine reads, "Respectfully made after bathing, offering incense, and worshipping," signed and sealed "Suoju."

PHOTO CREDIT: Walter Silver

©2009 Asia Society 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street New York, NY 10021: