Shakyamuni Buddha

Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Qianlong reign, 1735-1796
Gilded copper alloy with traces of pigment
H x W: 32 x 20.5 x 17 cm (12 5/8 x 8 1/16 x 6 11/16 in)
Mongolia, Probably Dolonnor
Credit Line
The Alice S. Kandell Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 26a: The Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room
Metalwork, Sculpture


Buddhism, Mongolia, Qianlong reign (1736 - 1796), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), Shakyamuni Buddha
Provenance research underway.

The historical Buddha Shakyamuni (sage of the Lion Clan) lived and taught in northern India from approximately 480 – 400 bce. Seated Shakyamuni images are characteristically represented with the left hand holding a begging bowl and the right hand lowered in the earth-touching gesture that signifies the moment of enlightenment.

This Buddha has a long torso and a slender face with high, arched brows and sinuously curved eyes; the folds of his heavy garment are unusual and the small begging bowl in his left hand appears to be original.

Inscribed in Chinese, Tibetan, Manchu and Mongolian, the image is dated to the Qianlong period (1735-96). It was probably crafted at Dolonnor or Beijing (the two great workshops of Buddhist imagery at this time in China); the four languages of the inscription further suggest an imperial workshop. The inscription has not yet been satisfactorily translated but it may identify the Budddha as Bhadashri, one of the thirty-five Buddhas of Compassion.

Published References
  • Marylin M. Rhie, Robert A.F. Thurman. A Shrine for Tibet: The Alice S. Kandell Collection. New York and London. I-10, 68-69.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
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