Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakyamuni

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 124)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Uncertain
Size 60.96x54.61cm (24x21.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.9.3
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha (Tibetan: sang gye sha kya tu pa. English: the Enlightened One, Sage of the Shakya Clan) with two attendants.

Sanskrit: Buddha Shakyamuni Tibetan: Sang gye sha kya tu pa

Gazing forward with a contented smile, the blue-black hair is piled on the crown of the head topped with a gold-like ornament. The earlobes are long and pierced - a sign of royal upbringing. A dot representing a curled hair adorns the forehead between the eyebrows and the neck is marked with three horizontal lines. The right arm is extended across the knee with the fingertips of the hand touching the ground in the mudra (gesture) of Earth Witness - calling the personified 'Goddess of the Earth' to confirm the moment of the Buddha's enlightenment. The left hand held in the lap in the mudra of meditation supports a black begging bowl - a gift of the Kings of the Four Directions. The two legs are folded with the right over left in the posture of vajrasana - representing stability. Without adornments and in the appearance of a monk (Tib.: ge long, Sanskrit: bhikshu) he wears the orange and saffron coloured robes assembled from strips of unwanted and discarded cloth, dyed to a uniform colour with freely obtained pigments. The lower robe is red and tied with an orange sash. Above a multi-coloured lotus blossom, he is seated surrounded by a blue-orange nimbus and opaque green areola of radiant light, encircled by green leafy vines, buds and pink flower blossoms.

At the right and left are standing monk attendants with shaved heads wearing orange upper robes and red lower garments. Held in the right hand of each is a traditional monk's walking staff - a khakkhara, jingling with loose metal rings alarming to predatory animals. The left hands hold at the waist a black begging bowl. With the feet bared atop a lotus cushion they are framed by an areola of opaque green light.

In the foreground, three precious wishing jewels are arranged as an offering to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha represented by the three - Shakyamuni, the effulgence of radiant light and the attendant monks.

Jeff Watt 5-99

Related Items
Thematic Sets
Shakyamuni Buddha: Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 2
Painting Set: Arhat Set VII
Shakyamuni Buddha: Arhat Sets