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An image of Buddha calling the earth to witness by


Buddha calling the earth to witness
Other titles:
Figure of Buddha
Buddha on the lion throne
Place of origin
late 12th century
Media category
Materials used
brass and copper

12.0 cm

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1997
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

Early Buddhist images from Burma have distinctive stylistic qualities that distinguish them from their South-east Asian counterparts. The broad forehead, slightly Mongoloid eyes, tapering face and high 'ushnisha' - the cranial bump that symbolises the Buddha's wisdom - are all distinctively Burmese features. In Burmese Buddhism, which followed the Theravada path, the dominant figure is Akshobhya, represented here. In this characteristic pose the Buddha is seated with feet upturned, bearing wheel marks on his soles. A button-like protuberance on his forehead resembles the 'urna'. The left hand rests face up on the lap in the meditation 'mudra'; the right hangs with the tips of the outstretched fingers touching the ground in the 'bhumispara mudra'. With this gesture the Buddha invokes the earth to witness his resistance of the temptations of the spirit of evil, Mara.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 299.

Bibliography (9)

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South-East Asia', pg. 298-301, Sydney, 1999, 299 (colour illus.).

Isabell Johne, Vasudhārā: A study of the origin, development, and diffusion of artistic representations of the Buddhist goddess of prosperity in their cultural contexts, Aachen, 2014, 150 (colour illus.). vol.2

Jackie Menzies, TAASA Review, 'Art Gallery of New South Wales', Sydney, Mar 1998, 10 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), Buddha: Radiant awakening, Sydney, 2001, 26 (colur illus.), 183. 7

Jackie Menzies, Look, 'Asian Favourites', pg. 24-27, Newtown, Sep 2003, 24 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 12 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, Arts of Asia, 'New Dimensions', pg. 54-63, Hong Kong, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 60 (colour illus.). no.14

Wendy Symonds (Editor), Look, 'The Centre for Asian Art Studies', pg. 25, Heidelberg, Sep 1998, 25 (colour illus.).

Unknown, Burmese Art and its Influences, London, 1981, 17 (illus.), 18. plate no. 15

Exhibition history (3)

Burmese Art and its Influences, Beurdeley, Matthews and Co. Ltd., London, 08 Apr 1981–25 Apr 1981

Buddha: Radiant awakening, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Nov 2001–24 Feb 2002

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015