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16550

Carved Buddha in Meditation
Item No. 16550

19th Century, Buddhist, China
Wood with Pigmentation
30" x 18" x 10"
( 76.2 x 45.72 x 25.4 cm)
(H x W x D)

This statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha, was carved in the Buddhist tradition as a reminder of the spiritual potential inherent within all of us to awaken to the Truth as he, a fellow human being, did.

His almond shaped eyes in the form of a lotus are downcast expressing a feeling of calm serenity above his pursed mouth. He has an urna, an indentation in the center of his forehead which is a third eye signifying the Buddha's supreme insight. Atop his head is a prominent cranial protuberance, an ushnisha, which represents accumulated wisdom; and in the center of the ushnisha is a red painted jewel (nikkeishu) radiating the light of wisdom. His head is painted sky blue and is "snail crowned", that is, it has characteristic spiral curls.

He has long pendulous ears, indicating his princely origin and the fact that as the Buddha, he "hears all." In both Chinese and Buddhist cultures, long earlobes are equated with longevity. Three creases in the neck suggest the full body characteristic of a Buddha. His hands rest in his lap in dhyanasana-mudra, the mudra of mediation, and his legs are crossed in padmasana, the lotus position, in which Sakyamuni sat in meditation under the bodhi tree, where he attained enlightenment. Sakyamuni sits on a pedestal in the form of a lotus blossom, indicating his enlightened status. He wears the traditional three part monks robe characteristic of the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties.

The statue is in excellent shape and retains much of its red and blue pigmentation,

Sources:

Meher McArthur, "Reading Buddhist Art: An Ilustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols," London, Thames and Hudson, 2002.

E. Dale Saunders, "Mudra: A Study of Symbolic Gestures in Japanese Buddhist Sculpture," Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1985.

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