Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakyamuni

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 37)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Uncertain
Size 81.28x48.26cm (32x19in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment, Fine Gold Line on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# P1994.14.1
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Shakyamuni Buddha (Tibetan: sha kya tu pa, sang gye. English: the Enlightened One, Sage of the Shakya Clan) together with two buddhas above and two bodhisattvas below.

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

Golden in colour, with one face, eyes partially closed, and the hair piled on the top of the head adorned with a gold ornament at the crest, the forehead is marked with a dot. The earlobes are long and pierced from his years as a prince. The right arm is extended across the knee with the fingers touching the ground in the earth witness mudra. The left hand is placed, palm upward in the lap, in the mudra of meditation. The shoulders are covered with an orange and red patchwork robe wrapped about the torso and legs. The right arm remains bare in the style of a Buddhist monk. The lower body is attired in an orange robe tied at the waist with a green sash. The body and head are each surrounded by a dark blue nimbus and green aureola ringed with gold and jewels. The legs are folded in vajra posture with the right over left atop a white moon disc and multi-coloured lotus seat above a snow lion supported throne. The front is draped with a red cloth.

The backrest of the throne is decorated with 'the Six Ornament' design. At each side, stacked one above the other, is an elephant, snow lion, horse, small boy, makara (sea creature), naga serpent and at the top a single Garuda bird soaring with brown wings unfurled biting down on a green snake. A large blue aura of light surrounds all of that.

"Born in the Shakya race through skillful means and compassion; destroying the army of Mara who was unable to be destroyed by others; with a body radiant like a mountain of gold. Homage to you, King of Shakya." (Sakya liturgical verse).

Standing at the left side is Shariputra holding a fold of the orange garment with the right hand and a khakkhara staff in the left. On the right side is Maudgalyayana holding a khakkhara staff in the right hand and a black begging bowl in the left, wearing dark red robes. At the bottom front a red table supports a large blue bowl filled with precious objects of gems, gold, branches of red coral and a large Dharma wheel ornament. Two flower vases stand below along with various jewels, bolts of cloth and boxes of offerings.

At the top left is a buddha with the hands in the mudra of Dharma teaching, surrounded by light, seated on a bank of clouds. At the right is another buddha figure in similar appearance to Shakyamuni buddha. At the bottom left is the bodhisattva Maitreya, performing with the right hand the mudra of blessing and the left hand in the mudra of supreme generosity while holding the stem of a white lotus blossom supporting a gold water flask. Adorned with ornaments and silks he sits in a relaxed posture atop a moon and lotus seat, surrounded by a large red nimbus. At the right is the bodhisattva Manjushri with the two hands held in front while holding the stem of a lotus blossom supporting an upright blue sword. Adorned with jewels, gold and silks of various colour, he sits in a very relaxed posture atop a moon disc and lotus seat, surrounded by a sphere of red light.

Jeff Watt 9-99

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Shakyamuni Buddha: Main Page
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Painting Gallery 6
Shakyamuni Buddha: Arhat Sets