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Seated Amitayus Buddha

c. 570s
Overall: 110 x 66.1 cm (43 5/16 x 26 in.)
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The stringlike folds of the Buddha's draperies emphasize his monumental, rigidly erect torso and tubular limbs.

Description

Amitayus, the Buddha of Infinite Life, is seated in meditation on a double lotus pedestal. The pedestal was not made with the statue but the combination is faithful to the original artistic conception. The statue is an extremely rare example of a major type of Northern Qi Buddhist sculpture. The heavy, massive front highlights the sense of monumentality and the spiritual essence of the Buddha.

Today the sculpture is united with a pedestal that exhibits the rich, ornate style of early Tang sculpture. It was commissioned by the Duke of Liang, Fang Xuanling (578–648), for the blessing of his second son and daughter-in-law, the Tang imperial princess of Gaoyang. The iconography and inscription suggest that it originally went with a statue, now missing, of Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, instead of Amitayus.
Seated Amitayus Buddha

Seated Amitayus Buddha

c. 570s

China, Northern Qi dynasty (550-577)

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