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A14. Fasting Siddhartha, 16.2 cms, dark bronze, China, Ming.

When Prince Siddhartha, later to become the Buddha, left his wife and his father’s palace disturbed by the sight of an old man, a sick person, a corpse and an acetic, he went to a forest where he joined a group of sages or learned holy men to seek truth and enlightenment. In the forest he practiced meditation, self mortification and extreme deprivation of worldly things including food. Later he realised this was not the answer and he ultimately became the enlightened Buddha and chose the more balanced “middle way”.

This sculpture depicts Siddhartha as a fasting acetic. He wears a monastic robe with lightly engraved borders and rests his hands and bearded face on his raised left knee. The muscles of his arms and lower leg are wasted from fasting and the vertebrae stand out in his upper back. His face radiates a wonderful introspective peacefulness.
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