The parallel lines with heart-shaped ends near the Buddha's ankles are the rippling pleats of his garment's hem.
This rare image of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni is shown seated with crossed legs in the position of meditation. His left hand rests on his lap, referring to his meditation under the Bodhi tree, and his right hand is in the earth-touching gesture—calling the earth to witness his enlightenment. The Buddha sits on a double lotus pedestal that indicates the presence of a transcendent being.
The sculptural style is typical of sculptures made at the Buddhist site of Pagan. Sculptures such as this were installed in niches in an interior passage of a temple.
As is typical of Burmese works, this sculpture was carved from a solid piece of wood. Its surface was covered in black lacquer and then gilded; a great deal of the gilding remains intact. Because lacquer is an easily perishable material, works of this type and size are exceedingly rare; this sculpture is one of the best extant examples.
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