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Buddha, seated under a canopy of 3 leaves on a double lotus dais in the padmasana pose, in bhumisparsa mudra, flanked by two stupas

Accession Number
1983/1.396

Title
Buddha, seated under a canopy of 3 leaves on a double lotus dais in the padmasana pose, in bhumisparsa mudra, flanked by two stupas

Artist(s)
Indian

Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
11th century

Medium & Support
black schist

Dimensions
3 1/16 in x 1 11/16 in x 15/16 in (7.8 cm x 4.3 cm x 2.3 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund

Label copy
The founder of Buddhism is known as Shakyamuni, the “sage (muni) of the Shakya clan.” He is shown here in the gesture of bhumisparsha mudra, or “calling the earth to witness.” The pose is based on a moment in his life when, as he sat down to meditate in a grove at Bodh Gaya, he was challenged by the evil Mara, who questioned his qualifications to earn enlightenment. Shakyamuni reached down with his right hand to touch the Earth, the sole witness of the countless past lives through which he had accumulated merit.
The two small objects to either side of the Buddha are stupas, reliquaries that house his physical remains and symbolize his nirvana, or release from the bonds of transmigration. This small image may have been carved in Bodh Gaya as a souvenir for pilgrims to the site. (A similar scene is depicted in a terracotta plaque (1990/1.176) in the UMMA collections.)
Exhibited in "Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures: Twenty Centuries of Indian Art," 12/12/03-2/22/04.

Subject matter
The founder of Buddhism is known as Shakyamuni, the “sage (muni) of the Shakya clan.” He is shown here in the gesture of bhumisparsha mudra, or “calling the earth to witness.” The pose is based on a moment in his life when, as he sat down to meditate in a grove at Bodh Gaya, he was challenged by the evil Mara, who questioned his qualifications to earn enlightenment. Shakyamuni reached down with his right hand to touch the Earth, the sole witness of the countless past lives through which he had accumulated merit.
The two small objects to either side of the Buddha are stupas, reliquaries that house his physical remains and symbolize his nirvana, or release from the bonds of transmigration. This small image may have been carved in Bodh Gaya as a souvenir for pilgrims to the site.

Physical Description
The Buddha in bhumisparsa mudra (the gesture of touching the earth with his right hand, palm inward), signaling his victory over Mara. He is shown under three leaves, indicating the bodhi tree under which he sat while meditating before reaching an awakening. He is shown flanked by two stupas, or reliquary monuments, symbolizing his attainment of nirvana.

Primary Object Classification
Sculpture

Primary Object Type
carving

Additional Object Classification(s)
Ritual Object

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Buddhas (visual works)
Buddhism
leaves (plant components)
miniature (size attribute)
stupas

5 Related Resources

Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Buddhism
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Devotional Objects Across Religions
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Indian Metalwork
(Part of: Design)
C2 - Chanchani - yogic body (main set)
(Part of: Curriculum/Collection)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display