The Buddha calling the earth to witness

Historical period(s)
Bangkok period, Lan Sang period, or post-Angkor period, 19th century
Ivory and gilding
H x W x D: 12.9 x 550 x 5.5 cm (5 1/16 x 216 9/16 x 2 3/16 in)
Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Figure: Buddha

Bangkok period (1782 - ), bhumisparsha mudra, Buddha, Buddhism, Cambodia, Lan Sang period (1271 - 1707), Laos, Post-Angkor period (1431 - 1863), Thailand

Unnamed Siamese official [1]

From 1909 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased at sale, Collection of Siamese and Cambodian Antiquities, Curios and Relics, American Art Association, New York, NY, April 6, 1909 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] According to Curatorial Remark 5, Louise Cort, February 18, 2002, "The catalogue of the sale of Siamese and Cambodian objects (6 April 1909) noted that they had been accumulated over a period of thirty-five years by a Siamese official." See also, the object record for F1909.48, Curatorial Remark 5, H. E. Buckman, 1964, wherein is provided additional provenance information for several objects acquired at this same American Art Association sale.

[2] See note 1. See also, Original Miscellaneous List, S.I. 75, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
American Art Association (C.L. Freer source) established 1883


Six small ivory Buddhas were among the very first Southeast Asian objects that Charles Lang Freer collected. He purchased them in 1909 as a group at an auction of Southeast Asian art in New York.

Seated with folded legs and hands in the earth-touching gesture of enlightenment (bhumisparsha mudra), the six Buddhas are relatively uniform in size and shape and were likely carved at the same time. They represent the moment when the historical Buddha calls the earth to witness as he achieves enlightenment. They may have been made in Laos, Thailand, or Cambodia. Their small scale and light material would have enabled them to be transported, and their find spot--purportedly in the vicinity of Angkor Wat--likely does not match their site of production.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
F|S Southeast Asia
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