This magnificent image of Lord Buddha represents him in 'Abhaya-mudra'. The
Lord of fearlessness is seated on a fully bloomed large lotus in
'padmashana' posture. His well composed face, attitude of left hand, largely
shut eyes and sublimity enshrining his entire being represent him in
meditation. It seems, as if his right hand has ejected rising in 'Abhaya',
although in Buddhist iconography it is not a mere reflex action. In Buddhist
way, 'Abhaya' and meditation are co-related. Meditation is the search within
where inhabits the prime enemy fear. The 'Abhaya', for oneself as well as
for the universe, becomes manifest only after one has entered deep within
him, discovered the enemy and has defeated it. Other Indian deities, while
imparting 'Abhaya' by one hand, carry in other different weapons. Buddha's
images are armed with meditation as it is in meditation that he had
discovered his subtlest weapon securing 'Abhaya'.
This 85 cm. tall and 60 cm. wide lofty image of Lord Buddha cast in brass by
lost wax technique weighs 36 kilogram. It has the look of a bronze of Chola
tradition. A multi-petalled lotus, cast with oval front and angular back,
constitutes the 'pitha' or base for the image. The body-garments of the
seated image lay scattered in fine surges all over the top of this 'pitha'.
A broad sash is tied around his waist. As fine is his 'Uttariya', a large
shawl, suspending from his shoulder. Both, the body garments and 'Uttariya'
have a rich border and are elegantly embroidered. In the tradition of divine
iconography in India, this image of Buddha has a normally tall and slender
figure. Hands are taller and elegantly cast. The left one is covered up to
the wrist with the 'Uttariya'. The palms of both hands have on them the
signs of auspicious lotuses believed to belong to only divine beings. The
shoulders are wide and broad and there rise upon them a well defined neck.
The recessed belly and broad chest are in conformity to the norms of Indian
iconography and further add to the aesthetic beauty of the cast figure.
The image is a fine synthesis of various styles of Buddhist sculptural art
that prevailed in India during early centuries of medieval era and in Nepal
and Tibet subsequently. The round face has reflection of Sarnath sculptures.
However, his narrower and sharp pointed nose, smaller eyes, small recessed
lips and the chin coming out a little above them are features of Chinese and
Tibetan traditions. Eyes, in meditative posture, are half shut in almost all
traditions, but their shape in this image adheres to the tradition of
Buddhist iconography prevailing in Himalayan valley. Larger ears and the
style of hair, being adherent to textual prescription, are features common
to all art traditions and to all times. Garments, surging in fine ripples,
are characteristic to Gandhara images of Buddha, the rich embroidery is,
however, the character of hills and areas beyond hills.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes
on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on
Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting
Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on
a number of books.
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