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Object Number:
Current Location:
Yuan Dynasty
Date Made:
Yuan Dynasty
Early Date:
Late Date:
Dry Lacquer
Sakyamuni Buddha
Seated figure of Sakyamuni Buddha in meditation with chin leaning on hands which are joined over the raised left knee. The other leg is bent horizontally in front of the figure. Sakyamuni is the honorific name for Siddhartha Gautama (563 - 483 BCE), also known as the historical Buddha. The Buddha's unusual smile offsets his austere demeanor. Crafted during the period of Mongolian rule in China, the facial features suggest connections with Nepalese Buddhism.

The use of dry lacquer was a time consuming process during which layers of clay, paper, lacquer, and cloth were applied to the figure. The drapery, with its free-flowing folds is uncommon for the time; it shows the natural folds of the cloth that was laid on the figure during the process. At one time, five woodblock printed and manuscript sutras, in Chinese and Tibetan, were inside the hollow figure (see C405 B-F, H). Perfumed ashes were also found which would have helped to protect the lacquer from worms. Additionally a small parcel containing five organs made of silver was present inside the statue.
Credit Line:
Purchased from C. T. Loo, 1923

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968)
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Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966)
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World Tour of Bodies of Culture: Body Modification (1996)
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[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 2008. "The Chinese Rotunda". Arts of Asia. 38 (5): 83-95. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 91, Fig. 24
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[Article] Slusser, Mary S. 1996. "The Art of East Asian Lacquer Sculpture". Orientations. 27 (1): 27-28. : Page/Fig./Plate: 27-28, Fig 22
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[Catalogue] Lee, Sherman E. & Ho, Wai-kam. 1968. Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate 19
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[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1941. The Chinese Collections of The University Museum: A Handbook of the Principal Objects. The University Museum Bulletin. 9 (2-3) : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 16, 20-21
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[Catalogue] Royal Academy of Arts. 1935. Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art. : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 48, No. 640; Pg. 61, 640 (illustration)
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[Article] Jayne, Horace H. F. 1935. The Museum's Loan to Burlington House ( for International Exhibition of Chinese Art held in London 1935-36). The University Museum Bulletin. 6 (1) : Page/Fig./Plate: 17-21, Plate 6
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[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1927. A Chinese Buddhistic Statue in Dry Lacquer. The Museum Journal. Volume XVIII (No. 3): 284-294. : Page/Fig./Plate: 284-294
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[Book] Siren, Osvald. 1925. Chinese sculpture from the fifth to the fourteenth century; over 900 specimens in stone, bronze, lacquer and wood, principally from northern China. : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate 620
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[Article] 1924. Chinese Sculpture. The Museum Journal. Volume XV (No. 4): 258-287. : Page/Fig./Plate: pg. 260, Plate V
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