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Seated Buddha

MO 63.1855
Seated Buddha
Maker unknown
11th century, Pala School
Bihar, India
Stone
22" x 16" x 7"
Stone carving of Buddha seated under the Bodhi tree. His right hand touches the earth in the "Bhumi-sparsa" attitude calling the earth to witness the fact of the Buddhahood. This Buddha is wearing a crown, necklace and earrings designating him as the enlightened one destined to be king. He wears robes of a sanyasi, the symbol of his renunciation. Around the figure are depicted scenes from Buddha's life. The birth, the first sermon and the descent at Sankisa are on the right. On the left, Buddha is represented with a bowl of honey presented to him by a monkey at Vaisali, the first sermon again, the subjugation of the elephant Nalagiri, the elephant is represented as a small block near the feet. Above Buddha's head is the "pari nirvana" or the passing away of the Buddha" with mourners on either side and the stupa, the symbol of the Buddha's death is shown above him.
This sculpture was presented to President John F. Kennedy by Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India (1947-1964), November 9, 1961 during the Prime Minister's state visit to the White House.
Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Mininister of India (1947-1964)
Donated to the United States
JFKSG-MO-1963-1855