University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

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Object Number:C405A
Current Location: China & Japan Gallery
Currently On Display
Provenience: China
Period: Yuan Dynasty
Date Made: Yuan Dynasty
Early Date: 1279
Late Date: Yuan Dynasty
Technique:Dry Lacquer
Iconography:Sakyamuni Buddha
Height: 81 cm
Width: 83.8 cm
Depth: 61 cm
Credit Line:Purchased from C. T. Loo, 1923


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.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Chinese Rotunda (1968) View Objects in Exhibition
Chinese Halls (1941 - 1966) View Objects in Exhibition
World Tour of Bodies of Culture: Body Modification (1996) View Objects in Exhibition


[Article] Steinhardt, Nancy S. 2008. "The Chinese Rotunda". Arts of Asia. 38 (5): 83-95. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 91, Fig. 24View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Slusser, Mary S. 1996. "The Art of East Asian Lacquer Sculpture". Orientations. 27 (1): 27-28. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: 27-28, Fig 22View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Catalogue] Lee, Sherman E. & Ho, Wai-kam. 1968. Chinese Art Under the Mongols: The Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate 19View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[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) Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Fig. 16, 20-21View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Catalogue] Royal Academy of Arts. 1935. Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Pg. 48, No. 640; Pg. 61, 640 (illustration)View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[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) Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: 17-21, Plate 6View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Fernald, Helen E. 1927. A Chinese Buddhistic Statue in Dry Lacquer. The Museum Journal. XVIII (No. 3): 284-294. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: 284-294View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[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. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Plate 620View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] 1924. Chinese Sculpture. The Museum Journal. XV (No. 4): 258-287. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: pg. 260, Plate VView Objects related to this Actual Citation

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