Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakyamuni

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 509)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1600 - 1699
Lineages Uncertain
Size 100.33x77.47cm (39.50x30.50in)
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Silk
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Catalogue # acc.# F1997.33.1
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): accompanied by the two main disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, at the sides and the Buddhas of the past and future above. The date is not certain but the work could have been created between the 16th and 17th centuries in a Menri painting style.

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

In a formal posture, relaxed in appearance, the right arm is extended across the knee with the fingers of the hand pressing the ground in the Earth Touching mudra (gesture). The left hand rests in the lap with the palm facing upward in the mudra of meditation. The hair is piled on the crown of the head in a tuft (Sanskrit: ushnisha) and the crown adorned with a gold ornament. The ears are long and pierced; the neck adorned with three horizontal lines. Attired in bright red and orange patchwork robes, constructed from discarded strips of cloth, and in the monastic tradition - having the right arm bare, he sits in vajra posture with the right leg over left, above a white moon disc and multi-coloured lotus seat, atop a lion supported throne. Surrounded by a red and gold floral nimbus studded with precious wishing jewels, the head is encircled by a golden areola. The front of the throne is covered with a brocade cloth emblazoned with symbols representing offerings of the five senses.

At the left side of the throne is Shariputra, the foremost of the Buddha's students in the study of Abhidharma. Wearing monastic robes, he holds a mendicant staff in the right hand and a begging bowl in the left, standing atop a monk's meditation mat. At the right stands Maudgalyayana, the most accomplished student in magical attainments. With both hands he holds a mendicant staff, otherwise in the same appearance.

At the top center an ornate canopy of various colours hangs as a symbol of the Buddha's royal lineage. At the left side is the Buddha Kashyapa (Dipamkara), the buddha of the previous age. The right hand is held to the heart performing the mudra of blessing, the left in the mudra of meditation placed in the lap. At the right is the bodhisattva Maitreya in the appearance of a fully enlightened buddha. The two hands are held to the heart in the mudra of Dharma Teaching. Both wear monastic robes and sit in vajra posture above a moon disc and full lotus blossom.

Jeff Watt 6-99

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