(Dhyanamudra)
Date:

Chola period, about 12th century
Artist:

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.

Title
Buddha Shakyamuni Seated in Meditation (Dhyanamudra)
Origin
Nagappattinam
Date
1101–1200
Medium
Granite
Dimensions
160.0 × 120.2 × 56.3 cm (63 × 47 5/16 × 22 3/16 in.)

Reference Number
1964.556
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