Description This seated and crowned Buddha reaches his right hand downward in the earth-touching gesture, while resting his left hand in a position of meditation. The gesture recalls the moment when Shakyamuni Buddha called the earth goddess to witness his enlightenment, when he reached a complete understanding of the true nature of reality. Because of its associations with the unwavering pursuit of enlightenment, the earth-touching gesture also identifies the cosmic Buddha Akshobhya, whose name means “Unshakable.” When this sculpture was made, it was common to depict both Shakyamuni and the cosmic Buddhas wearing crowns. This image may call both to mind, but the absence of additional jewelry suggests that it is Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
Provenance Vajra Arts, Hong Kong; purchased by John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, January 1970; given to Walters Art Museum, 2010.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2010
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