Kushana Buddha (India)

This seated Buddha is considered one of the Asian Civilisation Museums star pieces. To explain why let me first tell you that Buddhism has been around for about 2,500 years. For the first 500 years representing the Buddha in the human form was discouraged,so instead they used symbols to represent the Buddha and his teachings. From the inscription along the base we know that this Buddha is about 2000 years old.

This makes this sculpture one of the earliest representations of Buddha in the human form. He is quite different from any other we have in the museum. Firstly he is a little but curvy, he really looks strong and larger than life. He wears a very sheer robe over one shoulder. The sculpture is made from red sandstone, the smooth form of the hair is quite unique to the kushana period and he has this content smile on his face.
He is sitting in the lotus posture and if you look closely you can see the wheel of the Buddhist laws depicted on his feet. This is actually one of those symbols that was used for the first 500 years. So you can see when they started creating the human form Buddha they just incorporated those symbols into the human sculptures. Another of those symbols can been seen around the back of the sculpture. It was under the Bodhi tree that the Buddha reached the point of enlightenment. This means he was able to escape the cycle of birth, death and rebirth and reach a place free from suffering. The Bodhi tree is an important symbol of this transformation.

There are only about 5 other Kushana Buddha statues like this in the world, making it very special.


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