105.0 x 88.0 x 65.0cm
This monumental stone image of the seated Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of the West, sits with his hands held in the meditation gesture (in Sanskrit known as 'dhyana mudra'), his feet in the 'vajrasana' position of both soles upwards, and wearing the thin diaphanous robe of a monk. Deeply immersed in meditation, the Buddha emanates the serenity, wisdom and spirituality expected of the central icon of Buddhism. It is likely that originally this Buddha was part of a specific grouping. For example, Amitabha, together with Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha, and Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, constitutes the powerful triumvirate of Past, Present and Future Buddhas. As well, Amitabha as the Buddha of the West, appears in mandalas on the western quarter.
The concept of the mandala, a diagrammatic representation of the invisible forces that govern the cosmos, was brought to Indonesia with Vajrayana Buddhism. Vajrayana mandalas commonly have five Buddhas: the Buddhas of the Four Directions, presided over by Vairochana, the Buddha of the Centre. The largest three-dimensional mandala, and a site of world cultural significance, is at Borobudur, an astounding 9th century monument that contains nearly 500 Buddhist statues. Stylistically this Buddha is close to those at Borobudur, and presumably belonged to such a set that once constituted a temple mandala, with Amitabha Buddhas presiding over the west.
The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.339.
'Icon of the spiritual' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 18., Look Oct 2000, Oct 2000, front cover (colour illus.), 18 (colour illus.).
'The year of giving generously' by Alejandra Szczepaniak, pg. 22-23., Look Dec 2000-Jan 2001, Dec 2000-Jan 2001, 22 (colour illus.), 23.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Editor), Buddha: Radiant awakening, Sydney, 2001, 104 (colour illus.), 186. cat.no 76
'Asian Treasures' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 57-59., Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years May 2003, May 2003, 57 (colour illus.).
'New Era for Gallery's Asian Art' by Jill Sykes, pg. 22-23., Look Sep 2003, Sep 2003, 23 (colour illus.), 23 (detail).
'New Dimensions', by Jackie Menzies, pg. 54-63., Arts of Asia Nov 2003-Dec 2003, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 59 (colour illus.). no.12
'Asian Collections in the Art Gallery of New South Wales' by Edmund Capon, pg. 76-79., Orientations Sep 2000, Sep 2000, 79 (colour illus.). fig.6
The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 339 (colour illus.).
Inspirations - Art ideas for primary and middle years 2004, 2004, cover (colour illus.), 4 (colour illus.). card 4
'Joining the circle' by Judith White, pg. 11., Look May 2006, May 2006, 11 (colour illus.).
Buddha: Radiant awakening, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 10 Nov 2001–24 Feb 2002.