Sep 12, 2005

Shakyamuni as an Ascetic

Shakyamuni as an Ascetic

early 1300s

Gilt bronze with polychromy

Overall: 44.2 x 31.8 cm (17 3/8 x 12 1/2 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1966.116

Did you know?

Although the historical Buddha is here portrayed during a time of spiritual discipline and abstention from earthly pleasures, his robe has a sumptuous, elaborately decorated border.


This statue is of monumental scale and exceptionally fine workmanship. A work of this size and quality was likely to have been made in the official workshops under imperial auspices. The image of the ascetic Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha) is both powerful and immediate. Shakyamuni is portrayed in a state of contemplative meditation with closed eyes and an inward smile. He leans forward, head and hands resting on an upraised knee. The representation speaks eloquently of his withdrawal from the world to attain self-realization. It recalls another famous iconic image in the Cleveland collection depicting Shakyamuni descending from the mountains after enlightenment, CMA 1970.2.

See also
Chinese Art
Type of artwork: 

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