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Seated Buddha

250

The Toledo Museum of Art

The Toledo Museum of Art

Details

  • Title: Seated Buddha
  • Date Created: 250
  • Location Created: India
  • Physical Dimensions: h806.45 mm (Complete)
  • Catalogue entry: Artists first portrayed the Buddha in human form in the first century C.E. in the region of northwest India called Gandhara (parts of modern Pakistan and Afghanistan). Previously, his presence was merely suggested through the depiction of symbols, such as footprints or an empty throne. Gandhara was among Alexander the Great's easternmost conquests in 327 B.C.E. and as such had a tradition of exposure to Greek, and then Roman, culture. The idealized, youthful features and wavy hair of this Buddha were inspired by classical images of Apollo, and the Buddha's robes are reminiscent of a toga.Buddhist texts had formulated a set of thirty-two signs for the Buddha's superhuman perfection, and artists drew upon these writings when creating religious images. They invariably gave the Buddha the ushnisha, a protuberance on the crown of his head signifying wisdom, as well as the urna, a curl of hair resting between his eyebrows designating his all-seeing powers. Artistic license transformed the ushnisha into a curly topknot and the urna into a dot on the forehead. Additionally, Buddha was given a halo, an accepted sign of divinity and kingship in India and Central Asia. This sculpture originally included a halo behind the Buddha's head. This figure displays two distinctive mudras, or symbolic hand gestures. The missing right arm would have been raised with the right palm facing the worshipper, assuring Buddha's protection. His left hand clasps his robe in a gesture symbolizing his intention of answering the devotee's prayer.The plinth on which the Buddha sits, lotus-style, represents a mandala, or diagram, of the five cosmic Buddhas (the Tathagatas). Shown here flanked by donors they symbolize the four cardinal directions and the center of the cosmos, as well as the attainment of perfection.
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey
  • External Link: Toledo Museum of Art
  • Medium: Gray schist

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