210.0 x 81.0 x 42.0cm
A massive & imposing image of the Buddha conveys with an emphatic simplicity great spiritual power & presence. As is usual with figures of such antiquity, the head & hands are now missing. The appearance of the figure is characterised by the elegant fall of the robes, a convention that became the main defining principle in the determination & evolution of artistic style in the traditions of Chinese Buddhist sculpture. The figure wears the traditional monks' robes that are gathered over the left shoulder & attached by a bow & a floral-like motif. On the reverse side the robes are again defined by broad sweeping lines of great simplicity & sophistication. Two square perforations on the back may have once been the fixing points for the mandorla, or merely lifting points. The position of the arms suggests that the right hand was originally held in the "abhaya mudra", the gesture of assurance, & the left hand in the "varanda mudra", the gesture of granting a wish. The combination of these gestures, with the style & the date of the figure suggests that it represents "Amitabha Buddha", the Buddha of the Western Paradise. At this time, the late 6th & early 7th Centuries, the teachings of the Paradise Sutras were becoming the mainstream theology of Buddhist China & the image of its principal deity, "Amitabha Buddha", the most popular figure.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg.249.
The marble from which the figure is carved suggests the region of Dingzhou, Hebei Province, as the place of origin.
Asian Art Dept, AGNSW.
'Foundation building' by Michael Wardell, pg.14-17, Look Sep 2004, Sep 2004, 15.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation Annual Report 1998 1998, 1998, cover (colour illus.).
Bruce James (Australia) (Author), Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Director), Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, Domain, 1999, 249 (colour illus.).
'Buddha lands' by Jackie Menzies, pg. 20-23., Look Oct 2001, Oct 2001, 22 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Editor), Buddha: Radiant awakening, Sydney, 2001, 102 (colour illus.), 186. cat.no 75
'New Era for Gallery's Asian Art', by Jill Sykes, pg. 22-23., Look Sep 2003, Sep 2003, 22 (colour illus.).
'The Discovery of Mass: A Footnote to the Stylistic and Iconographic Innovation in Chinese Buddhist Sculpture' by LIU Yang, pg. 88-95., Orientations Sep 2000, Sep 2000, 90 (colour illus.), 91 (colour illus.). fig.3 and 3a (reverse)
China 'Buddhist Art', The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales 2003, 2003, 94-95 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 95 is a detail of this work.
Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2004 2004, 2004, 31 (colour illus.).
Edmund Capon (England; Australia, b.1940) (Author), Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 164 (colour illus.), 165 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 165 is a detail of this work.
Buddha: Radiant awakening, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 10 Nov 2001–24 Feb 2002.