Most schools of Buddhist thought acknowledge the existence of several different Buddhas, of whom only one, Shakyamuni, has lived on earth. The Medicine Buddha, known in Korean as Yaksa, is worshipped by many Buddhists who seek cures for ailments or wish to ensure good health. He is typically shown holding a small pot of medicine in one hand.
Buddhism was introduced to the Korean peninsula from China in the fourth century C.E. Korean monks then helped to spread the religion to Japan in the sixth century. For much of its history, the Buddhist religion has been a catalyst for international exchange, with monks traveling abroad in search of greater knowledge. Worship of the Medicine Buddha is rarely found in Southeast Asia, but it has enjoyed intermittent popularity in eastern Asia and the Himalayas. In Korea, worship of Yaksa reached an apex during the Unified Silla period (668–935), the period in which this piece was made.
Unified Silla Period
7 1/16 x 2 in. (18 x 5.1 cm)
with wood stand: 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Frank L. Babbott Fund
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Standing Yakusa, 8th century. Bronze, 7 1/16 x 2 in. (18 x 5.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 74.165. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 74.165_SL1.jpg)
overall, 74.165_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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From "Korean Art Collection in the Brooklyn Museum" catalogue:
This gilt-bronze statuette of a Buddha with a "plain head" (sobal) is topped with a large cranial bump (yukgye in Korean or ushnisha in Sanskrit). The shoulders, which are quite round and narrow, are draped with an outer robe. The inner robe, which is worn underneath and falls in oblique lines, is tied with a knot. The attire of the Buddha is in the Udayana style, characterized by the folds of the outer robe creating a U-form over the knees, a Y-shape between the legs, and a shirt-like lower robe falling to the ankles. Other distinctive features include a medicine bowl held in the left hand and a pedestal, which is believed to have been made and added at a later period.
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