14th century The Buddha seated in dhyanasana on a double lotus throne, his hands in dharmachakra mudra, wearing long flowing robes incised at the hems and revealing his chest, the face with eyes downcast in a contemplative expression flanked by long ears with pendulous earlobes below tightly-coiled hair rising to a high usnisha. 44.7cm high.
This is an outstanding example of a well preserved gilt-bronze figure from Western Tibet, representing the apex of quality of gilt-bronze Buddhist figures produced there in the 14th century. Unlike most other figures of Buddha with their hands in bhumisparsha and avakasha or abhaya mudra, the hands are posed in the dharmachakra mudra or 'teaching' gesture. The hands are combined to form a position in the front of the heart, with the right hand facing palm outwards and the left hand facing palm inwards. The tip of the index fingers and thumbs of both hands usually touch each other lightly to form a circle, representing the wheel formed from the union of skilful means and wisdom.
For another figure of a Buddha with the same hand gestures from the Qing court collection dated to the Qianlong period, see Buddhist Statues of Tibet, The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum, Shanghai, 2003, p.244, no.233.
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