Plaque Depicting Episodes from the Life of Shakyamuni Buddha
This item is not on view
Gift of The Roebling Society
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Plaque Depicting Episodes from the Life of Shakyamuni Buddha, 12th century. Pyrophyllite, 5 3/4 x 3 3/4 in. (14.6 x 9.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Roebling Society, 82.78. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 82.78_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
The stele is dominated by a central figure of the Buddha, seated in dhyanasana (meditation) with his right hand in the bhumisparsa (calling the Earth to witness) gesture and his left one in dhyana mudra. He is seated on a double-petaled lotus supported by two kneeling nagas and a stem of lotus springing from the pancharatha base, which is decorated with elephants and lions. Over the Buddha's head is a Bodhi Tree, and various scenes from his life surround the image, forming on each side three horizontal registers arranged in two vertical columns or sections. It has been suggested (p. Pal, "The Story of a Wandering Bronze Buddha and Two Examples from American Collections", The Connoisseur, Vol. 181 (Nov 1972), 203-207, that while the outer sections represent regular scenes from Buddha's life the six inner events refer to six out of the seven weeks that he spent in meditation under the Bodhi Tree before he attained Enlightenment. The seventh week would, in this case, be represented by the central image.
In its style, the stele is based heavily on Pala prototypes, which generally served as a model for the artist. The source for this and related stone reliefs is a matter of conjecture: see G. H. Luce, Old Burma-Early Pagan, 3 vol.s, NY, 1970. More recently, Hiram W. Woodward has writte on the subject: "Burmese Sculpture and India Painting," Chhavi-2, 1981, p. 22, notes 17 and 18, in which he indicates "magical syllables crudely incised in Tibetan script" appear on the reserve of the stele. See also, Woodward, SRAA, V, for his discussion on the India, Pala sources for such steles, and their comparison to Tibetan carvings and paintings. Comparable plaques in U.S. museum collections include: Cleveland Museum of Art (65.27), Asia Society Museum (John D. Rockefeller, 3rd Collection (1979.90), Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard Art Museums (1979.328), Walters Art Museum, U. Michigan Museum, Ann Arbor, BM, V&A, MMA, and private collections.
Condition: Very good. There is some wear to the figures. All faces except that of the central Buddah figure are worn. The face of the apsaras at the upper left corner and the Buddha below are both void (old chips). The back is painted red.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.