Image: 50 1/2 × 21 in. (128.3 × 53.3 cm)
Overall with mounting: 85 1/2 × 28 in. (217.2 × 71.1 cm)
Overall with knobs: 85 1/2 × 30 1/8 in. (217.2 × 76.5 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1929
Not on view
Shaka Nyorai, or the historical Buddha Shakyamuni (the sage of the Shakya tribe who attained enlightenment), lived in India from about 563 to 483 B.C. He is portrayed here sitting cross-legged on a lotus throne above a five-tiered hexagonal pedestal. The most fundamental doctrine of Buddhism, Turning the Wheel of the Law, is embodied in Shaka's hand gesture, the mudra of preaching. He is illuminated by double disks of halos and by gold applied to his face and body. His robes drape gracefully over the throne. The strong frontality and symmetry enhance the strength of this devotional image.