Provenance: From a private collection of Buddhist art. By repute acquired by the parents of the present owner in Asia ca. 1980.
Condition: Excellent condition with old wear, minor scratches and dents, a single short crack at the center of the base on the backside. Remainder of pigment and varnish. Some verdigris. The sealing plate possibly of a later date and soiled. The underside rim of the base with extensive traces of use.
Weight: 3 kg
Dimensions: Height 28 cm
The hems and borders of the garment finely detailed with a beaded border, the serene face rendered with a meditative expression beneath an urna and flanked by long pendulous earlobes pierced with vertical slots, all beneath the domed ushnisha covered with tight curls and surmounted by a jewel, brilliantly gilded throughout, the base sealed and incised with a visvavajra.
The iconographic form in which the historical Buddha is seated, with his right hand in the earth-touching position, bhumisparsha mudra, recalls a momentous episode from his spiritual biography in which he triumphs over Mara just prior to his enlightenment. Having vowed to remain in meditation until he penetrated the mystery of existence, Shakyamuni was visited by Mara, a demon associated with the veils and distractions of mundane existence. The Buddha remained unmoved by all the pleasant and unpleasant distractions with which Mara sought to deflect him from his goal.
According to some traditional accounts, Mara’s final assault consisted of an attempt to undermine the bodhisattva’s sense of worthiness by questioning Shakyamuni’s entitlement to seek the lofty goal of spiritual enlightenment and the consequent freedom from rebirth. Aided by spirits who reminded him of the countless compassionate efforts he had made on behalf of sentient beings throughout his numerous animal and human incarnations, Shakyamuni recognized that his destiny was to be poised on the threshold of enlightenment.
In response to Mara’s query Shakyamuni moved his right hand from the meditation position in his lap and touched the ground stating “the earth is my witness”. This act of unwavering resolve caused Mara and his army of demons and temptresses to disperse, leaving Shakyamuni to experience his great enlightenment. The episode took place at the adamantine throne, vajrasana, beneath the bhodi tree at Bodh Gaya, eastern India, a location said to have been especially empowered to expedite the Buddha’s enlightenment.
Auction result comparison: Compare with a closely related, but much smaller (17.7 cm) statue of Buddha at Christies New York in Indian and Southeast Asian Art, 19 March 2013, lot 408, sold for USD $81,250.
品相：品相極好，老磨損，輕微劃痕和凹痕。背面底座中心有一短開裂。顏料和清漆殘餘。 一些銅綠。 密封板可能為後來的，有污跡。 底座下邊緣有廣泛的使用痕跡。
拍賣結果比較：一件相近但小些 (17.7 厘米) 的造像于2013年3月19日售于紐約佳士得《印度與東南亞藝術》，拍號408，成交價USD $81,250。