H. 19 3/8 x W. 7 x D. 5 in. (49.2 x 17.8 x 12.7 cm)
Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.9
This Buddha performs the gesture of reassurance (abhaya mudra) with his right hand and holds a piece of unattached cloth, originally meant to represent part of his robe, in his left hand. His webbed fingers, snail shell-shaped curls, and the bump on top of his head are among the thirty-two auspicious marks (lakshanas) described in Buddhist literature that signify his advanced spiritual enlightenment. His elongated earlobes, although not among the prescribed marks, are often seen on images of Shakyamuni Buddha and refer to the heavy earrings he wore as a young prince before he cast away all material possessions to pursue a path of spiritual transcendence. The style of this Buddha's nearly transparent robe follows conventions established in Sarnath (east-central India) in the last quarter of the 5th century. A hollow cast image with remaining core, the type is clearly related to Sarnath images and to the Cleveland bronze Buddha with a dedicatory inscription of 632/33. The facial type seems closer to Mathura images and seems to indicate a date somewhat earlier than the mid-sixth century one assigned to the Cleveland Buddha.