Temple Gallery

Established 1959

Seated Buddha - exhibited at the Temple Gallery, specialists in Russian icons

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GG014. Seated Buddha

17th or 18th century
Gilt bronze
Height: 16.5 cmClick here to convert metric size to imperial

Provenance:  Harry Weinberger Collection

£7,500 Click here to convert price to USD or EUR

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This small gilt bronze figure is finely cast and gilded, the hair tinted with lapis lazuli. It shows the Lord Buddha seated on a lotus throne wearing a simple monastic robe and in the posture ‘Calling the Earth to Witness’ (bhumisparshamudra).

In accordance with Tibetan peaceful manifestations the deity’s hair is painted blue. This artistic convention emphasizes the blue element in the 'blue-black' hair said to be one of the 32 special physical characteristics of the Buddha. The distinguished writer E.H. Schafer summarizes the Buddhist interest in lapis: ‘The Chinese were not alone among the Far Eastern peoples in their admiration for the blue mineral. The Tibetans valued it above all others, even ahead of gold, and those highlanders saw in it the image of the azure sky, and said that the hair of their goddess had its colour’. The surface has very fine fire gilding.

The lower rim of the pedestal has a Tibetan inscription. We are grateful to Dr Philip Denwood of SOAS for the following translation.

"By the grace of [this image of] me, the Lord Buddha, may the holy Buddhist doctrine be spread everywhere for the benefit of living beings, and may they become equals of the wise Bodhisattvas!" The lower line on the front is a string of mantras: "du ru om mu ni mu ni ma haa mu ne yi sbaa haa"

Detail Images