Seated Buddha

Object nr. 667 China, Tang Dynasty (618-907), Late 7th century- early 8th century Height: 73.2 cm | Width: 38 cm. | Depth: 33.5 cm. Displayed on a bronze stand and plinth total height c. 170 cm

- With Galerie Jacques Barrère, Paris 2005
(dated expertise)
- P. De Poortere Collection, Belgium 2023

Condition Report Available

Price on request

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Additional Information

Seated Buddha

A grey limestone figure of Buddha, seated on a stone pedestal. Both legs are pendant, in a position known as the pralamba-padasana – the so-called ‘European’ position - and the left hand rests on his knee, palm facing down. Buddhas seated in this pose can be identified as Maitreya -the Buddha of the future.  The body is clad in a diaphanous monk's robe (sanghati) with cascading crisp folds, covering both shoulders but partially exposing the chest. Concentric sharp pleats fall over his lap, the shape of the legs and knees clearly visible beneath the cloth. The neck has several folds of skin, which is similar to that of other sculptures from this period. He sits on a square plinth, with the robes hanging over the edge. The head, right hand and lower legs are now missing.  

During the Northern Qi and Tang Dynasties there was much religious strife between Buddhism -which had gradually entered China from India – and the existing ancient Confucian and Daoist beliefs. This lead to several waves of dismantling and destruction of religious monasteries, temples and complexes. Buddhist sculptures would be removed or sometimes damaged and buried in pits nearby. This explains why this type of early religious sculpture is not always complete.

A stylistically very similar seated buddha, also seated on a square plinth and dated 686, from the Liang-sheng T’ang collection was exhibited in the National Palace museum in 1997. Another complete with its full pedestal and head, is in the Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco (B60 S115+). Related figures from the same period, but in a lotus posture, are in the Art Institute, Chicago ( 1930.83) and the Beilin Museum, Xian.

Seated Buddha

Floris van der Ven