Buddha Shakyamuni Seated in Meditation (Dhyanamudra)
Chola period, about 12th century
India Tamil Nadu, 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.
Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrew Brown
Extended information about this artwork
The Essential Guide, rev. ed. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2013) p. 117.
The Essential Guide, rev. ed. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2009) p. 103.
The Essential Guide, Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2003-2004 pp. 88-9, and 1993, pp. 88-9.
Pratapaditya Pal, “Sculptures from South India in Art Institute of Chicago”, (Art Institute of Chicago: 1996), Museum Studies, Vol. 22, No. 1, p. 33, fig. 15.
Vidya Dehejia, The Persistence of Buddhism in Tamil Nadu, A Pot-Pourri of Indian Art, (Marg Publications, Bombay, 1988) pp. 53-74 and p. 70, fig. 19.
Recent Acquisitions of Asian Art by American Museums, Archives of Asian Art, 1965, p. 75, fig 3.
Archives of the Chinese Art Society of America, vol. 19 (University of Hawai’i Press for the Asia Society, 1964), p. 75, fig. 3
Sold to Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrew Brown, Chicago, Ill., by Mr. William H. Wolff, William H. Wolff Incorporated, New York, September 1964; restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrew Brown to the Art Institute of Chicago, September 16, 1964.
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