Buddha Shakyamuni with Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya
  See it in the Museum
Chapel
Orientation 1
Wall object 1

ABP 034

 Code: ABP 034

  Country: China

  Style: Ming Dynasty

  Date: 1400 - 1500

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 41 x 62.5

  Materials: Gouache on cotton

Historical Buddha Shakyamuni with bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya

This painting represents the historical Buddha Shakyamuni seated legs crossed in meditation on a lotus and precious throne supported by lions, his right extended hand touches the ground before him while his left rests on his lap in contemplation. This posture refers to the episode of his victory over Mara, god of Death and illusion when, by touching the ground he took the Earth as a witness of his spiritual realisation. He is endowed with all the distinctive marks and signs of a “great being:” short curly hair, a cranial protuberance (ushnisha), a curl of hair between the eyebrows (urna), elongated earlobes, and three marks on the throat, and so on.

Shakyamuni is flanked by two attendants, on his right by white Avalokiteshvara Padmapani, bodhisattva of compassion, holding the bud of a white lotus flower, and on his left by Maitreya, bodhisattva of loving kindness, identified by the ewer on the flower at his right shoulder. They are clad with a finely decorated cloth tied around their hips, and wear the princely ornaments befitting divine manifestations. From the clouds, two groups of three celestial are gazing down upon the scene. Stylistically, this painting from Northern China reinterprets the traditional Indian model, merging it with Nepalese, Tibetan and Chinese stylistic influences.

A Buddha is an “Enlightened One”, awakened to the true nature of existence. He has transcended is human condition and is “no longer a man, nor a god”. He has reached nirvana – “the extinction” of desire and karma – and he is free from samsara, the endless cycle of existence and suffering. A Buddha generally appears as a renunciant, devoid of ornaments