This essay will document the research done about an artwork made during the period between the 11th and the 12th century, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The research report is based on first-hand observations of the artwork, the review of the information documented by the…
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The sculpture stands at a height of 57.8 centimeters, which is the equivalent of 22.75 inches.
The robust body sculpture showing an early Tibetan Buddha appears to derive its nature and theme from the art works of the post-Gupta North Indian period from the seventh to eighth century1. However, its physiognomy appears to draw its making from the prototypes of Central Asia from the same ancient times. It is one of the few artworks from the time, which have survived, and it is among those surviving ones. Many of the artworks of this culture and time appear to be eclectic blends of a variety of elements from the artistic culture and the artworks of India, Central Asia, China and Nepal.2 The identification of the person represented through the artwork is difficult, but the earth-touching gesture made using the right hand is related to Shakyamuni who is a Buddha from the past. The sculpture indicates the conquest of the historic Buddha over Mara, and evil demon – who was arguably trying to shake his enlightenment by disturbing his meditation. The same gesture shown in the sculpture is linked with Akshobhya, who is one of the five legendary Buddha icons that are core to the iconography of Buddhism in the Tibetan region.3 The position of the Buddha’s second hand, where the thumb and the middle finger are clasped has not been linked to the historic Buddha (Shakyamuni), thus has been viewed to be a major indicator that the sculpture is a depiction of Akshobhya. Through the study of this artwork, the writer will demonstrate that art has been used to depict the long-lasting exchange between the religious practices and beliefs of the Indian and the Chinese traditional cultures.
The religion of Buddhism began with Siddhartha Gautama, an iconic figure in the Buddhist religion. Gautama died around 400 BCE, and has since been respected and revered as the centrally-placed Buddha Shakyamuni.4 Gautama’s roots are traced to
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