Burmese Bronze Ivory and Gold Leaf Shakyamuni Buddha Sculpture
A late 19th century bronze Burmese Shakyamuni Buddha sculpture with inscription on the base, cast in bronze and adorned with ivory eyes, gold leaf headdress from the Randolph Rose personal collection. This one of a kind Buddha sculpture was dedicated to a temple in the early 1900s.
Seated in the traditional vajra posture with the right leg over the left leg, relaxed in a meditative gaze, the right arm is outstretched across the knee with the fingers pointed downward toward the ground in the Earth Touching mudra (gesture). The left hand placed in the lap with the palm upward is in the mudra of meditation. The black hair curled in small tufts culminates on the crown of the head in a large mound (ushnisha in Sanskrit), the crown of that adorned with a single gold ornament. The earlobes are long and pierced; the neck adorned with the beauty marks of three horizontal lines. With the right arm bare he wears a patchwork upper robe, constructed from discarded strips of cloth and a lower garment. The serene face and the great drapery of the monastic clothes enhance the remarkable bronze cast of this statue. The gold leaf headdress and the ivory eyes highlight the lively meditative aspect of the face.
Shakyamuni Buddha "The Sage of the Shakya Clan", the founder of Buddhism, was born in 623 BC as the Indian Prince Siddhartha, who renounced the world at the age of 29 to become a monk. After six years of arduous effort, He discovered the Middle Way of training, leading to His experience of Great Awakening. Within this experience He discovered the Four Noble Truths; He continued to teach until His entry into Eternal Meditation with His death at the age of 80.
In addition to the subject depicted here, the sculpture has a great history: part of the Randolph Rose’s Personal collection, it was loaned to Studio 54 and Steve Rubell for the 1st Anniversary Party. It was also introduced at the South Street Seaport for the advertising Campaign to Yves Saint Laurent’s perfume, “Poison”.