Buddha Shakyamuni

* Nearly 20,000 images of artworks the museum believes to be in the public domain are available to download on this site. Other images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. By using any of these images you agree to LACMA's Terms of Use.

Buddha Shakyamuni

India, Uttar Pradesh, late 6th century
Sculpture
Copper alloy with traces of paint
15 1/2 x 6 3/4 x 4 in. (39.37 x 17.15 x 10.16 cm)
Gift of the Michael J. Connell Foundation (M.70.17)
Not currently on public view

Curator Notes

Gupta rule in northern India initiated a long era (320-600) of peace, prosperity, and artistic accomplishment....
Gupta rule in northern India initiated a long era (320-600) of peace, prosperity, and artistic accomplishment. From the two main artistic centers of the period, Mathura and Sarnath, issued the sculpture now regarded as forming the classical Indian style. This image of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni, with its serene countenance, embodies the Gupta balance of elegant form and inner spirituality. Although the Gupta rulers were Hindu, they actively patronized Buddhism. Kings and devotees gained spiritual merit by pious acts: building temples, commissioning or making images of Buddha, such as this one, or worshiping them. This Buddha embodies two ideals basic to Buddhism, the perfect yogi and the universal ruler. He possesses the yogi's supple, almost buoyant body and contemplative gaze and facial expression, and the ruler's youth, strong shoulders, firm body, and webbed hands and feet. Time-honored traditions of portrayal connect the Buddha's human form with nature; his long eyes are shaped like fish, his curls like snail shells, and the profile of his left shoulder and arm is like the trunk of an elephant. This sculpture was probably made in northern India and was influenced by Mathura and Sarnath styles. The image, long preserved in a Tibetan monastery, received there the dark indigo paint on its locks. The striated, schematic folds of the robe were common to Mathura figures, while its transparency as well as the delicate proportions of face and body and the slight weight shift to the right leg are reminiscent of Sarnath sculpture.
More...

Bibliography

  • El Universo de la India: Obras Maestras del Museo de Arte del Condado de Los Angeles. Santiago: Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda, 2012.

  • Donahue, Kenneth.  X, a Decade of Collecting:  1965-1975.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1975.
  • El Universo de la India: Obras Maestras del Museo de Arte del Condado de Los Angeles. Santiago: Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda, 2012.

  • Donahue, Kenneth.  X, a Decade of Collecting:  1965-1975.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1975.
  • Donahue, Kenneth. Los Angeles County Museum of Art Handbook. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1977.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya. The Ideal Image : The Gupta Sculptural Tradition and Its Influence.  New York : Asia Society in association with J. Weatherhill, 1978.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya; R. Brown; R. Fisher; G. Kuwayama; Amy G. Poster.  Light of Asia: Buddha Sakyamuni in Asian Art. ed. Dean, Lynne. Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984.
  • Pal, Pratapaditya. Indian Sculpture, vol.1. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; University of California Press, 1986.
  • Price, Lorna.  Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  Los Angeles:  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988.
  • Khandalavala, Karl J., ed. The Golden age: Gupta art: empire, province, and influence. Bombay: Marg Publications, 1991. 
  • Reedy, Chandra L.  Himalayan Bronzes:  Technology, Style and Choices.  Newark:  University of Delaware Press, 1997.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003.
More...