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Buddha Shakyamuni Seated in Meditation (Dhyanamudra)

Dark stone sculpture of Buddha sitting cross-legged, hands in lap, eyes closed.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Dark stone sculpture of Buddha sitting cross-legged, hands in lap, eyes closed.


Chola period (c. 855-1279), about 12th century


Tamil Nadu, near Nagapattinam

About this artwork

This meditating Buddha comes from the coastal town of Nagapattinam in southern India, which was, as a result of settlers from Srivijaya (Indonesia), one of the few places where Buddhism was still flourishing in the twelfth century. The Buddha—with his elongated earlobes, the wheel marks on his palms, the urna between his brows, and the cranial protuberance covered with snail-shell curls—is seated in the posture of meditation, with his hands resting on his lap (dhyanamudra), wearing a seemingly diaphanous monastic garment. As in other images from Nagapattinam, a flame emerges out of the Buddha’s cranial protuberance, probably signifying wisdom. This monumental granite sculpture originally would have graced a monastic site at Nagapattinam, which is also well known for its Buddhist bronzes. The Tamil inscription covering its back is no longer legible.


On View, Gallery 140


Arts of Asia


Buddha Shakyamuni Seated in Meditation (Dhyanamudra)


Nagapattinam (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





160 × 120.2 × 56.3 cm (63 × 47 5/16 × 22 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrew Brown

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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