Crowned Buddha Shakyamuni

11th century

Rubin Museum of Art

Rubin Museum of Art
New York, United States

STYLE: This sculpture bears the standard features of late northeastern-Indian Buddha depictions. The figure’s head is disproportionally large, and his clothing clings to his body, its hem indicated by copper inlay. The three points of his crown touch each other at the base and are obscured by the jewels set between them. Behind the ear ribbons are held by a knot decorated with a blossom, their ends turning upward above the shoulders. The necklace is wide and has large curved pendants, and the earrings are shaped like leaves. Considerable wear has distorted the face and the necklace.

CONTENT: This sculpture celebrates the Buddha’s awakening in the northeastern-Indian village of Bodhgaya. The Buddha is seated cross-legged on a double lotus and touches the earth, a reference to the moment when he calls upon the earth goddess to witness his awakening. He wears monastic robes and is crowned and bejeweled. Crowned Buddhas became increasingly popular from the seventh century onward. As understood in esoteric Buddhism, the crown and it's ribbons falling behind the ears signify the Buddha’s awakening through a consecration by the Buddhas of the Ten Directions.


  • Title: Crowned Buddha Shakyamuni
  • Date: 11th century
  • Date Created: 11th century
  • Physical Dimensions: H 6.25 x W 4.375 x D 2.375 in.
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2002.29.1
  • Medium: Copper alloy with inlays of silver
  • Place of Creation: India
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (02/06/13 - 01/13/14), Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT, Exhibition and Study Purposes (08/15/05 - 08/31/10)

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