Portable icon of Shakyamuni Buddha in the Earth-touching gesture

Portable icon of Shakyamuni Buddha in the Earth-touching gesture

late 1100s–early 1200s

Part of a set. See all set records


Overall: 42 x 18.5 x 3 cm (16 9/16 x 7 5/16 x 1 3/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1964.93



The Buddha sits surrounded by a circle of flaming jewels and full-blown lotus petals. Two rearing serpents emblematic of the glory of the Khmer Empire emerge from either side of his lotus pedestal. The Buddha’s right hand points down in the earth-touching gesture, and his left hand holds a round object, probably a special rice offering that indicates the Buddha’s power to ensure ongoing prosperity of the land.

The branches of the pipal tree under which the Buddha reached enlightenment top the composition. Beneath his lotus pedestal, the earth goddess holding a garland in his honor bears witness to the moment of his enlightenment. On either side of her, grimacing demons holding clubs and shields, representing impediments to enlightenment, flee. Lotus leaves curl elegantly to either side.

See also
Cambodian Art
Type of artwork: 

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