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Buddha, Probably Amitabha

Period:
Tang dynasty (618–907)
Date:
early 7th century
Culture:
China
Medium:
Hollow dry lacquer with traces of gilt and polychrome pigments
Dimensions:
H. 38 in. (96.5 cm); W. 27 in. (68.6 cm); D. 22 1/2 in. (57.1 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1919
Accession Number:
19.186
  • Description

    Devotion to the celestial Buddha Amitabha (Amituo fo) stresses the impossibility of achieving enlightenment during a life lived under less-than-ideal circumstances and promotes the desire for rebirth in Sukhavati, a pure land or way station in which conditions are conducive to the quest for advanced understanding. Identi­fied by the position of the arms, which suggests that the missing hands were in a gesture of meditation, this image of Amitabha was made using the complicated dry-lacquer technique, in which a core, often wood, is covered with clay and surrounded by pieces of hemp cloth that have been saturated with lacquer. Then the core is removed. In the eighth century this technique spread from China to Japan.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
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