Buddha in Earth Witnessing Mudra
Item No. 19057B
20th Century, Buddhist, Burma
Lacquer over Wood with Gilt
9" x 5" x 3"
( 22.86 x 12.7 x 7.62 cm)
(H x W x D)
This wood with lacquer image is portrayed in characteristic Mandalay style in which the Buddha has an oval face which is separated from his hair by a wide fillet band. His head is topped by a thick, round, usnisha (cranial protuberance indicating a special spiritual and wise being). He has painted arched eyebrows, a broad nose, slightly downcast eyes and his pursed lips set in a smile. His eyebrows, eyes and lips are highlighted with pigmentation. His elongated ears, which represent his extraordinary wisdom and spiritual enlightenment, flare out from the sides of head and touch his shoulders.
The Buddha sits in padmasana, the lotus position, with soles of exposed feet with even length toes face upward. His right hand is in bhumisparsa (earth witnessing, or gesture of touching the earth) the mudra in which the even-length fingers of his right hand touch the earth in front of him. This mudra represents Buddha as he meditated during the night of his enlightenment. His left hand rests in his lap in dhyana mudra, the gesture of meditation
As is customary in the Theravada tradition, the Buddha wears a simple monkís robe with the right shoulder bare and his robe folded in pleats over the left shoulder and extends to his left hand and also down his back. He is placed on an unadorned semicircular red throne.
The image has a naÔve simple quality, indicating that it was carved by an itinerant craftsman and probably graced the home of a family with limited means to be placed in their home shrine. It is in good condition, with all of its lacquer and pigmentation in tact, but with a chip on the back of its right arm.