Asian art

Iconography of Buddha Statues

Iconography of Buddha Statues

We must admit that the portrayal of Buddha in the statues, arts, images are not the actual or natural representations of what really Buddha look like. The antique Buddha statues and other images were made only after 500-600 years later, approximately. The first one to make the statue was the Gandhara who were more influence with the Greco culture so the statues looked more likely westerns. Slowly, as time passed by the statue got more influence from south Asian culture. Even though the physical appearance of the Buddha was the influence of different cultures, the gestures and postures were from the Buddhist scriptures. Therefore the Buddhists believe that the Buddha statues represent an ideal reality. The perfect Buddha Statues are only possible when the artists are in a state of Samadhi which helps him to visualize Buddha's the ideal reality. Therefore, Buddha statues are not identical because the artists make the statue out of his visualization of Buddha but this doesn't mean that the artists are free to carve the statue, they must follow certain rules of representation which must be adhered.

Collection of Antique Buddha Statues

That's why if we look at the Statues created by the Gandhara, they usually are depicted in a gesture of benediction, with the right hand held at shoulder-height with the palm facing forward and the fingers together and slightly bent. The portrayal of Buddha was then varied by the end of the Gupta Empire, mainly seated meditative position was common. As Buddhism was spread to other parts of the world, the variation in the portrayal of the Buddha Statues was also seen gradually.

In Korea, even the physical appearance of the Buddha Statue was localized. That's mean the figure look a lot like Korean than the Greek. If we observe about the statues of Thailand and Laos then they have their own style of the depiction. This variation in Thailand and Laos was not formalized until 19th Century the general project of modernization was initiated. The key personality in this project was Siamese Royal Prince and Buddhist monk Paramanuchit Chinorot, a son of King Rama I. He was appointed as an administrator of Wat Pho royal temple in Bangkok in 1814. During his term, Monk Paramanuchit described and portrayed 40 different postures of Buddha in an illustrated work called Pathama Sambodhikatha. Even though Paramanuchit's illustrated postures of Buddha were new, they were justified through reference to the literary accounts of the Buddha's life. The creation of new postures was done due to the request of King Rama III. In Present context, bronze miniatures portrayed in above-mentioned illustrations can be seen at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.

Features of the Buddha Statue

buddha-earlobe

According to Digha Nikaya, a Pali text dated 1st century BCE provides a list of 32 physical attributes of the Buddha. Some of the attribute mentioned in this text is poetic or fanciful while others are more specific. There is mentioned some attributes like- legs like an antelope's, feet with level tread, projecting heels, long and slender fingers and toes etc. although Buddha Statues images doesn't reflect all those attributes.

In the text, it is mentioned that the Buddha had a protuberance on the top of his skull, the Usnisha which is shown as a spike and sometimes as a small bump. Another peculiar characteristic of Buddha is long earlobes.

Gesture and Posture of the Buddha

The Buddha is depicted in four main postures - sitting, standing, walking, and reclining - with different hand gestures - Touching the earth, Meditation, Charity, Fearlessness, Reasoning and exposition, and setting in the wheel. All these gestures and postures have their own meanings.

Dress of the Buddha

buddha-robes

The Buddha is portrayed wearing a monastic robe. The robe is shown in two different ways, first one is in the covering mode, draped over both shoulders, and next one is in the open mode, leaving the right shoulder and breast uncovered. Often in many Buddha statues, the real robes are used too draped over the statue. When real robes are used, the robes are changed periodically usually at main festivals. Apart from the robe, the Buddha is also depicted wearing royal attire, however, this kind of Buddha statue is rare.

Share this page

View our collection of Buddha statues

Old Nepali bronze Buddha statue

Old Nepali bronze Buddha statue

275 euro
High quality old bronze Nepali Buddha

High quality old bronze Nepali Buddha

2750 euro
Bronze nepali Medicine Buddha statue

Bronze nepali Medicine Buddha statue

200 euro
High quality Nepali Medicine Buddha

High quality Nepali Medicine Buddha

1450 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Mandalay Buddha

400 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Lotus Buddha

Antique bronze Burmese Lotus Buddha

1100 euro
Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

Antique wooden Burmese Shan Buddha

125 euro
Very special original bronze Bagan Buddha statue

Very special original bronze Bagan Buddha statue

High quality Nepali bronze Buddha statue

High quality Nepali bronze Buddha statue

1300 euro
Antesite stone Buddha statue

Antesite stone Buddha statue

1250 euro
Large special Burmese Shan Buddha

Large special Burmese Shan Buddha

15500 euro
Antique wooden Mandalay Buddha

Antique wooden Mandalay Buddha

1250 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

650 euro
Antique Nepali bronze Buddha statue

Antique Nepali bronze Buddha statue

2250 euro
Antique wooden Mandalay Buddha statue

Antique wooden Mandalay Buddha statue

1750 euro
Antique bronze Burmese Buddha statue

Antique bronze Burmese Buddha statue

1250 euro
Large old teakwooden Buddha statue

Large old teakwooden Buddha statue

1400 euro
Old Nepali bronze Buddha statue

Old Nepali bronze Buddha statue

750 euro
Antesite stone Buddha statue

Antesite stone Buddha statue

950 euro
Bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Bronze Nepali Buddha statue

250 euro
Large and special 17th century Burmese Buddha

Large and special 17th century Burmese Buddha

29500 euro
Antique wooden Mandalay Buddha

Antique wooden Mandalay Buddha

500 euro
Newly made stone Buddha statue

Newly made stone Buddha statue

400 euro
Old wooden Burmese Buddha statue

Old wooden Burmese Buddha statue

1450 euro
Antique standing wooden Mandalay Buddha

Antique standing wooden Mandalay Buddha

1350 euro
High quality Granite Buddha statue

High quality Granite Buddha statue

1750 euro
Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

Old bronze Nepali Buddha statue

275 euro
Antique bronze Shan Buddha

Antique bronze Shan Buddha

750 euro
Special large antique Shan Buddha statue

Special large antique Shan Buddha statue

5500 euro
Special - very early bronze Arakan Buddha statue

Special - very early bronze Arakan Buddha statue

11000 euro
arrow-right keyboard_arrow_right arrow-down chevron-down keyboard_arrow_down chevron-up arrow-left keyboard_arrow_left close menu search twitter facebook youtube-play linkedin envelope instagram google-plus pinterest whatsapp heart-o Wishlist share file-pdf-o printer trash