Himalayan Art Resources

Item: Shakyamuni Buddha

ཤཱཀྱ་ཐུབ་པ། 释迦牟尼佛
(item no. 88650)
Origin Location Tibet
Date Range 1000 - 1099
Size 14.29cm (5.63in) high
Material Copper, Copper Inlay, Silver Inlay
Collection Asia Society
Catalogue # acc # 1979.089, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
Notes about the Central Figure

Classification: Person

Interpretation / Description

This sculpture depicts Shakyamuni Buddha performing the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparsha mudra). This gesture refers to the moment when the Buddha-to-be called the earth to witness his right to achieve enlightenment. The small female figure holding a vase beneath Shakyamuni represents the earth goddess whom he invoked. The Buddha sits on an elaborately patterned cushion decorated with the face of a lion. The distinctive use of two colors of metal in this piece may reflect a practice recorded in the writings of the Tibetan scholar and teacher Padma Dkarpol (1524-1592) who described a type of image which was made of both "white brass" and "red brass." In this case, the "white brass" refers to the yellowish areas of the Buddha's body and throne, while the "red brass" refers to the copper that comprises the Buddha's robe.

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Shakyamuni Buddha: Main Page
Sculpture: Buddha
Collection of Asia Society, New York
Sculpture: Shakyamuni (From Sculpture Mold)
Tibet: (West Tibet)- Sculpture
Shakyamuni Buddha: Sculpture (Mixed Metals & Patterned Cushion)