Nov 3, 2020
Jul 6, 2012
Jul 6, 2012

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


Did you know?

Bronze images such as this were used to transfer a sacred presence from one temple to another.


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 wrings the waters from her hair that wash away the army of Mara, the grimacing demons holding clubs and shields who flee to either side.

See also
Cambodian Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.