Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha - Avadana (teaching stories)

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 65556)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1800 - 1899
Lineages Buddhist
Material Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton
Collection Rubin Museum of Art
Painting School Karma Gardri
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Appearance: Buddha

Gender: Male

Interpretation / Description

Art Represented in Art: at the top left is a depiction of the first and only portrait of Shakyamuni Buddha.


The scenes in the top center and top left of this painting depict episodes from the story of the conversion of King Udrayana. King Bimbisara was friends with this very prestigious king, Udrayana, who made had a gift to him of a suit of armor that would protect Bimbisara from all harm. Wishing to reciprocate this kindness, but at a loss as to what could possibly be of comparable value, Bimbisara consulted with his ministers. One suggested that he have a portrait of Shakyamuni Buddha (who was residing nearby) done and make that the return gift. Bimbisara agreed and went and received the Buddha's permission. He then retained an artist to execute the commission, but the artist found himself unable to render the Buddha's form correctly until the Buddha's radiance fell on the canvas and the artist was able to trace its outlines.

Udrayana was overjoyed with the gift and it was an inspiration to the king and many others.

Chris Haskett, 8-2010

Secondary Images
Related Items
Thematic Sets
Painting Set: Avadana Composition (Situ Panchen Design) Main Page
Painting Set: Avadana, Palpung Style (Rubin Set 2)
Collection of Rubin Museum of Art: Main Page (Gallery 1)
Subject: Art Depicted in Art
Subject: Art Depicted in Art (Paintings)
Subject: Art Depicted in Art (Making Art)