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Seated Shakyamuni
Place of Origin: China
Date: 1700-1800
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Materials: Lapis lazuli and nephrite
Dimensions: H. 5 in x W. 3 7/8 in x D. 2 1/2 in, H. 12.7 cm x W. 9.8 cm x D. 6.3 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Jade And Stones
Object Number: B60J243
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 13

Description

Label:

Tibetan Buddhism was the state religion of the Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty, and this lapis lazuli Buddha is worked in the same tradition as the gilt bronze images from Tibet. Seated in meditation, the Buddha carries the alms bowl in his left hand, while his right is lowered in the earth-calling gesture. This is the typical iconography for Shakyamuni, the historic Buddha. The depiction of the drapery and the edges decorated with floral patterns are reminiscent of the gilt bronze images made during this time period. The alms bowl has been well-hollowed. In later jades, the craftworkers seldom bothered to hollow out the interior of the alms bowl.

The face of the Buddha was once covered with cold gold (an application of gold dust and glue). This was a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The lotus pedestal of green nephrite, together with the precious lapis lazuli, indicate that the piece was made for a rich patron, possibly for the palace.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Additional Label:

In Buddhist practice across Asia, gold leaf is applied to sculptures and monuments as an important act of devotion thought to generate merit (punya, the force that leads to better rebirths) for the donor. The extreme malleability of gold allows artisans to create very thin sheets of gold leaf, which permits believers to apply gold leaf at minimal cost.

This lapis Buddha bears traces of this devotional process. Although it was made in China, its style is similar to Tibetan bronzes from the period and its gold is applied in a typically Tibetan fashion. Such Tibetan influence is not surprising, for the Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty had made Tibetan Buddhism the state religion.

The Buddha’s lotus pedestal of green nephrite, together with the precious lapis lazuli, indicate that the piece was made for a rich patron’s home. Here the associations of gold with both immortality and status merge seamlessly into one another.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)


Label:

Tibetan Buddhism was the state religion of the Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty, and this lapis lazuli Buddha is worked in the same tradition as the gilt bronze images from Tibet. Seated in meditation, the Buddha carries the alms bowl in his left hand, while his right is lowered in the earth-calling gesture. This is the typical iconography for Shakyamuni, the historic Buddha. The depiction of the drapery and the edges decorated with floral patterns are reminiscent of the gilt bronze images made during this time period. The alms bowl has been well-hollowed. In later jades, the craftworkers seldom bothered to hollow out the interior of the alms bowl.

The face of the Buddha was once covered with cold gold (an application of gold dust and glue). This was a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The lotus pedestal of green nephrite, together with the precious lapis lazuli, indicate that the piece was made for a rich patron, possibly for the palace.


Exhibition History: "Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art", Asian Art Museum, March 4, 2016-May 8, 2016
Expanded Label:

In Buddhist practice across Asia, gold leaf is applied to sculptures and monuments as an important act of devotion thought to generate merit (punya, the force that leads to better rebirths) for the donor. The extreme malleability of gold allows artisans to create very thin sheets of gold leaf, which permits believers to apply gold leaf at minimal cost.

This lapis Buddha bears traces of this devotional process. Although it was made in China, its style is similar to Tibetan bronzes from the period and its gold is applied in a typically Tibetan fashion. Such Tibetan influence is not surprising, for the Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty had made Tibetan Buddhism the state religion.

The Buddha’s lotus pedestal of green nephrite, together with the precious lapis lazuli, indicate that the piece was made for a rich patron’s home. Here the associations of gold with both immortality and status merge seamlessly into one another.

(Label from Exhibition Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art)