Gilt and Lacquered Bronze Figure of Buddha Akshobya, Ming Dynasty, 16th/17th Century
The Buddha with tightly curled hair, fleshy ear lobes and a serene expression with downcast eyes, seated in dhyanasana (meditative pose), the right hand in bhumisparsa mudra (earth-witness) and the left in dhyanasana mudra (meditation), wearing flowing robes with raised floral patterned edges
height 18.9" — 48 cm.
379.2 oz. — 11793 grams
As evidenced by the positioning of the right hand, this Buddha is an image of Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha, as he is at the initial point of enlightenment. At this stage, he is in the form of Akshobaya (meaning “the Immoveable One”), one of the five manifestations of the Adibuddha (Primordial Buddha) and representative of wisdom garnered from the nature of illusion.
The style and size of this Buddha suggests a major temple or palace casting, possibly part of a large set of five for a high altar. Such large commissions were popularized during the Ming Dynasty, and the Buddha’s style and details suggests a northern Chinese influence.
Compare the face, body proportions, and rendering of the robes, to a related monumental Ming bronze Image of Vairocana at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. A similar figure of Buddha Akshobaya was sold at Sotheby’s London ‘Chinese Works of Art,’ May 16, 2007, lot 43.
Private Collection Toronto, purchased from Minoro Saito, Saito Inc., Chicago, 1989
Department: Asian Art