Ming Wooden Seated Bodhisattva


15th Century AD to 16th Century AD


40″ high (100 cm) x 30″ wide (77 cm)





Gallery Location



The historical figure, Buddha Gautama Sakyamuni is the Buddha of compassion who, having achieved the highest evolutionary perfection, turns suffering into happiness for all living beings. Born around 560 B.C. somewhere between the hills of south Nepal and the Rapti river, his father was a Raja who ruled over the northeastern province of India, the district including the holy Ganges River. The young prince was married to Yashoda when he was about 17 years old and together they had a son named Rahula. At the age of 29, he left his life of luxury, as he felt compelled to purify his body and make it an instrument of the mind by ridding himself of earthly impulses and temptations. Here, the Buddha is seated in the Vajraparyanka lotus posture (Padmasana) resting his arms in the Bhumisparsa mudra, or “gesture of touching the earth.” A symbol of unshakable faith and resolution, this mudra portrays the Buddha taking the earth as his witness. He is dressed in flowing robes that cascade over the base upon which he rests. The edges of his garment are adorned with inlaid mirror panels, although much of this decoration has disappeared over time. His hair is composed of tight coils, and he features a large ushnisa, the bump on the top of his head symbolic of his infinite wisdom. The general appearance associated with the Buddha characterizes him partly as a noble human being and ideal ruler and partly as superhuman. The elegance and spirituality of the Buddha form is well conceived in this Chinese representation.

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