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PS5. Buddha, Tibet, 12.5 cms, copper alloy, circa 15th century.

The historical Buddha, founder of the Buddhist religion lived about 600 years BCE. He was born into a minor princely family in what is now Nepal and grew up in the sheltered comfort of his father’s palace. One day he went out from the palace and saw an old person, a sick person and a dead person. He was so disturbed by the realisation that all people experience and suffer old age, illness and death that he left the palace and vowed to meditate in the forest with the sages and holy men until he reached an understanding of the nature of things or became “enlightened”. After enduring extreme privations he realised that this was not the answer. He continued meditating despite his meditation being constantly assailed by Mara the king of the demons.

Finally he achieved his goal and to demonstrate this achievement and victory over Mara he touched the ground with his right hand to ask the earth to witness the event.

Thus, this defining moment in the life of the Buddha has become the most popular depiction of the Buddha in sculpture.

This figure of Buddha is seated in Vajraparyankasana on a relatively low double lotus throne. His close fitting sangati or monastic robe accentuates his broad chest and shoulders.

The Buddha’s face radiates peace and calm and inner contentment. While the robe is treated in a simple manner details like the finger nails are executed with great realism. This is a truly lovely example of the Buddha. The original sealing plate has been lost, but a scroll remains inside
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