South and North Kingdoms period (668–935), Unified Silla dynasty
H. 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1917
The gilt-bronze statue is a typical small icon made for private devotion in the Unified Silla kingdom and exemplifies a high point in the production of Buddhist sculpture in Korea. The Buddha's hand gesture (mudra) symbolizes the dispelling of fear and the granting of wishes.Abby Greene Aldrich Rockefeller (1874–1948), wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and a champion of modern art, donated a group of Asian sculptures to the Metropolitan Museum in 1942. The gift, primarily composed of Chinese Buddhist art, was lauded at the time as “perhaps the most important single gift the Far Eastern Department has ever had.” This charming statue was one of two late Joseon-period Korean pieces that came to the Museum as part of that group. At the time, these works were thought to date to the thirteenth century.
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