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Seated Buddha
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Seated Buddha

Description Conservation Provenance Credit
Description This monumental Buddha would have been placed in the center of an altar surrounded by multiple sculptures in different sizes of Buddhas and other spiritual beings, including kneeling attendants. Through offerings and prayer, the devotee maintains a relationship with the Buddha’s image, which is understood to contain the presence of the divinity. Gifts of flowers, garlands, incense, and candles glorified the deity, and devotees accrued merit by renewing his brilliance, as the years passed, with gossamer-thin gold leaf. Kneeling before the Buddha, the devotee touches his or her head to the floor three times, honoring the Three Gems: the Buddha, the "dharma" (his teaching), and the "sangha" (the community of monks). Though this Buddha appears to be carved from solid wood, it is a hollow construction akin to papier-mâché, made from layers of red and black lacquer (a tree resin). The liquid lacquer was bulked with ash or rice paste and applied over a clay form, which was removed after the lacquer hardened. The richly decorated surface was sculpted from thickened lacquer and then covered in gold leaf and colored and reflective glass inlays.

Examined, cleaned, and repaired in preparation for exhibition.

Date Description Narrative
3/25/2015TreatmentExamined, cleaned, repaired
Provenance Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Southeast Asian Art Collection; given to Walters Art Museum, 2002.
Credit Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Southeast Asian Art Collection, 2002

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18th-19th century
wood, dry lacquer, gilding, and glass inlay
Accession Number
H: 72 1/4 × W: 49 15/16 × D: 30 5/16 in. (183.52 × 126.9 × 77 cm)


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