Arts & Culture


Buddha offering protection

unknown1- 100 C.E

National Museum - New Delhi
National Museum - New Delhi

An ideal form of the Buddha was evolved in the early reign of Kanishka, the Kushana emperor. It became the most popular model of Mathura atelier and was popular for long in northern India. The general characteristics as evidenced in the present figure are: the entire composition is in high relief and the back remains un-carved. The Buddha sits cross-legged (padmasana) with a shaven head and a snailshell type knot (kaparda) above. His earlobes are small and a circular mark (urna) is seen between the eyebrows. The right hand is raised in half profile imparting protection (abhaya), while the left rests on the left knee. Drapery covers his left shoulder (ekansika sanghati) while his right shoulder remains bare. With almond-shaped open eyes the Buddha bears a subtle smile on his face suggestive of happiness in every situation. The palms of his hand and soles of feet are marked with auspicious motifs like the wheel (chakra) and the three jewels (triratna), which are considered to be marks of the greatness (mahapurusha lakshana). The halo bears only a scalloped border and the remaining portion is left blank. He is seated under the bodhi tree when he practised penance to attain supreme knowledge (bodhi janana) at Bodhgaya. Two hovering divine celestials carry garlands as a mark of homage to the Enlightened One. The pedestal is supported by lions seated back to back and in the centre two devotees are seen worshipping a pillar with a wheel (the dhrama chakra). In this particular sculpture the Buddha is flanked by two flywhisk-bearing noblemen.

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  • Title: Buddha offering protection
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: 1- 100 C.E
  • Location: Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • Physical Dimensions: 69x42x14cm
  • Provenance: Ahichchhatra, Uttar Pradesh
  • Accession Number: 13694/A25024

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