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The Buddha Shakyamuni with sixteen Buddhist elders
Place of Origin: Tibet
Date: 1600-1700
Object Name: Thangka
Materials: Ink and colors on cotton
Dimensions: H. 73 in x W. 49 1/2 in, H. 185.4 cm x W. 124.5 cm (overall); H. 39 3/8 in x W. 36 in, H. 100.0 cm x W. 91.4 cm (image)
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Himalayan Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B62D31
On Display: No

Description

Label:

Entering through the East
This painting depicts the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, making the key gesture called "earth-touching," in reference to the Buddha's calling of the earth as a witness during his victory over the demon Mara. According to traditional biographies of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, he had just arrived at the Tree of Awakening, also known as the Bodhi Tree. Facing east, Shakyamuni sat under the tree and was determined not to stand up until he had achieved enlightenment.

Mara, demon of time, death, and illusion, and lord of this world—before the Buddha's enlightenment—sensed the threat to his dominion. Mara tried to seduce and threaten the Buddha-to-be, first with his sexy daughters and then with hordes of demons. In response, Shakyamuni touched the earth as a witness to his authority over Mara's forces, from lust to hatred. The famous Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, India, was built at the site to commemorate the event. Seen from above, the temple exhibits a fourfold form similar to that of the mandala.

 


More Information

Exhibition History: "Words as Art" Rotation, 7/23/2012

Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Centers and Mental Maps of Himalayan Buddhism, March 14 — October 26, 2014, Asian Art Museum
Label:

Entering through the East
This painting depicts the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, making the key gesture called "earth-touching," in reference to the Buddha's calling of the earth as a witness during his victory over the demon Mara. According to traditional biographies of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, he had just arrived at the Tree of Awakening, also known as the Bodhi Tree. Facing east, Shakyamuni sat under the tree and was determined not to stand up until he had achieved enlightenment.

Mara, demon of time, death, and illusion, and lord of this world—before the Buddha's enlightenment—sensed the threat to his dominion. Mara tried to seduce and threaten the Buddha-to-be, first with his sexy daughters and then with hordes of demons. In response, Shakyamuni touched the earth as a witness to his authority over Mara's forces, from lust to hatred. The famous Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, India, was built at the site to commemorate the event. Seen from above, the temple exhibits a fourfold form similar to that of the mandala.

 


Exhibition History: "Words as Art" Rotation, 7/23/2012

Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Centers and Mental Maps of Himalayan Buddhism, March 14 — October 26, 2014, Asian Art Museum