Buddha Offering Protection

India (probably Bihar)

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 236

This Buddha image embodies the qualities of inner radiant calm and stillness, the products of supreme wisdom. He dispenses reassurance and protection to his followers with a raised hand held in abhaya-mudra, the ‘fear not’ gesture. The Buddha is robed in the simple uncut cloth of a monk, gracefully drawn around the body so as to define form, to create an image that is at once ethereal and sensuous. A state of Buddhahood is defined iconographically by the presence of a series of auspicious markings (lakshanas): here we see the attenuated earlobes, protruding skull and webbing between the fingers. Taken together these features, both natural and supernatural, denote preordained sanctity and a state of Buddhahood. Few metal Buddha images survived the collapsed of monastic Buddhism in the late 12th century, and most that are preserved did so in Tibet, where they had been spirited away for safety in the medieval period.

Click here to read a discussion of recent conservation research on this object, Enlightened Technology: Radiographing an Image of the Buddha.

Buddha Offering Protection, Copper alloy, India (probably Bihar)

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.