Buddha Shakyamuni
  See it in the Museum
Orientation 3
Display 6

ABS 175

 Code: ABS 175

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1200 - 1300

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 11.4 x 16.5 x 2.1

  Materials: White sandalwood with painted decoration

Buddha Shakyamuni

Relief carving of white sandalwood with remains of painted decoration.

When Buddhist monks or lay practitioners travel on pilgrimages or on more worldly errands, they usually carry portable shrines filled with ceremonial objects. Not only were wood sculptures less expensive, they were also easier to carry. For patrons with limited funds, wood sculptures were thus the ideal choice. 

The Buddha is seated in the diamond attitude (vajraparyankasana). He rests his left hand in his lap and extends the right hand in the gesture of touching the earth (bhumisparsha-mudra). With this gesture, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni “takes the earth as a witness” of his victory over his inner demons of doubt, the mara.

The upper monastic garment (uttarasanga) covers only the left shoulder and is draped without folds. This depiction of the historical Buddha reminds us also of the place of his awakening (enlightenment). Bodhgaya in northern India subsequently became the destination of Buddhist pilgrimages to the "eight holy places" (astamahasthana).