H. 8 in. (20.3 cm); W. 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm); D. 5 1/2 in. (14 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1943
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
The teaching gesture made by this figure, in which the thumb of the right hand touches the little finger of the left, identifies him as Vairocana, a transcendent manifestation of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni who played an important role in certain early esoteric traditions that grew increasingly popular in China in the eighth century. The unusual wheel-like configuration at the bottom suggests that this sculpture may once have been encased within five lotus petals that could open and close.