We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Standing Buddha

581 CE-618 CE


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Figure of Buddha
    Place where the work was made
    Dingzhou ? Hebei Province China
    Sui dynasty 581 - 618 → China
    581 CE-618 CE
    Media category
    Materials used
    210.0 x 81.0 x 42.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation1997
    South Building, ground level, Asian Lantern galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    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.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 4 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 12 publications

  • Provenance

    Private Collection, pre 1980s, Japan

    Jui-chin Wang, 1980s-1990, Tamsui/Taiwan

    Wui Po Kok Antique Co. LTD., 1990-1997, Hong Kong

    Eskenazi Ltd Oriental Art, Dec 1997, London/England, with Giuseppe Eskanzi (art dealership). Purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997.