This hollow-cast gilt bronze Buddha has a well-rounded, weighty body with a disproportionately large head compared to the rest of the body. The round protuberance on top of the head (Sanskrit - ushnisha, symbolising wisdom), the conch-shaped hair curls, the elongated earlobes, the neck-folds and the circular dot on the forehead (Sanskrit: urna) are the characteristic physical attributes of a Buddha. The facial features were carefully rendered in a realistic manner with arched eyebrows, half-closed eyes, the nose, full lips and a plump chin. The expression is mild and complaisant. The right hand is in the gesture of fearlessness (Sanskrit: abhaya mudra) and the left hand is in the gesture of wish-granting (Sanskrit: varada mudra). The round shoulders are draped in a robe and undergarment with U-shaped folds. Lines and U-shaped folds delineate each of the legs. The fabric appears thin and clings to the body as if wet. This Buddha statuette was originally mounted on a stand and may have had a mandorla (halo) attached to its back. The statuette has two openings: one on the back of the head and one on the back. The gilding shows signs of wear.

Buddhism was introduced to Korea between the 4th and the 5th century, during the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE–668 CE). By the time the Silla Kingdom had unified the country (Unified Silla period, 668–935) Buddhism flourished under the patronage of the royalty and aristocracy, and the craft and artistry of Buddhist sculpture was highly advanced. New influences from Tang China were absorbed into the local style, resulting in Buddha images with a full body shape and a round face with a benevolent and dignified expression. Buddha statuettes like the above-described were used on private altars or as votive deposits during the Unified Silla period.


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