Stele of a Standing Buddha
On View: Asian Galleries, Southwest, 2nd floor
The Buddha is portrayed here with his hands in the abhaya mudra, a symbolic gesture dispelling fear and affording the devotee divine protection. The serenity of the Buddha contrasts with the flame-shape mandorla. Flying apsaras (angels) carved in the tip of the flame visually lead the viewer toward the heavenly realms. The halo of lotus flowers surrounding the Buddha’s head and framing the deity symbolize rebirth in paradise. The hair of the deity is styled in a domed ushnisha, and he wears simple monastic robes. Buddhism is thought to have been introduced to China during the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.), transmitted by monks traveling with merchants along the Silk Roads, which connected China to South Asia, where the religion first originated with the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. The Eastern Wei rulers, many of Tuoba ethnicity, were practicing Buddhists and helped introduce and spread Buddhism as a state religion during this tumultuous period of political instability in northern China.
Eastern Wei Dynasty
Eastern Wei Dynasty
with base: 75 x 24 x 14 in. (190.5 x 61 x 35.6 cm)
without base: 50 x 24 in. (127 x 61 cm) (show scale)
Painted inscription on reverse, in Chinese characters, to be read.
Gift of The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in honor of Arnold Lehman
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Stele of a Standing Buddha, 534-550 C.E. Sandstone, with base: 75 x 24 x 14 in. (190.5 x 61 x 35.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, NYC, in honor of Arnold Lehman, 2015.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2015.3_front_PS9.jpg)
front, 2015.3_front_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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