Category Archives: Statuary

Video: The Buddhist Deity Simhavaktra Dakini

21 March 2014


The Buddhist deity Simhavaktra Dakini detailSimhavaktra means “lion faced” or “lion headed,” and a dakini is a “sky-walker”—an inhabitant of the realm of the sky in the mind.

Created in China during the 1700s, Simhavaktra’s style nonetheless reflects strong Tibetan influence. Such cross-cultural influences have historically been common in Himalayan forms of Buddhism.

Simhavaktra balances deftly, despite her apparently awkward posture. To successfully create a sculpture of this type, extremely high levels of artistic skill were necessary. Indeed, Simhavaktra is one of only two comparable sculptures still extant in the world.

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Ancient Buddha images found in Linzin cemetery [Myanmar]
08 March 2014


The ancient Buddha images that were found near Tawagu Pagoda at the old Armenian cemetery inside Linzin cemetery in Amarapura (Photo – Htay Hla Aung/EMG)

MANDALAY—Sixteen ancient Buddha images from the early Konbaung dynasty era have been excavated at the old Armenian cemetery site inside the Linzin cemetery in Amarapura of Mandalay Region.

The images were found on March 5 and 6 while clearing the surroundings of the Tawagu Pagoda on the site of the old cemetery. A statue of a Nat (spirit) was also found together with the Buddha images. Continue reading

Video: Project to preserve beauty of the Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes in North West China are a treasure trove of cultural wonders. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art in the world. And now with the aid of the latest technology, archaeologists are creating a digital archive of these priceless treasures.

The Mogao Grottoes have been used as a natural canvas for artists for more than 1,600 years. The frescos are now extremely fragile, so archaeologists have been digitally archiving them since the 1990s. But now the project has gone beyond mere preservation. Continue reading

NY Exhibit: Tibet and India Buddhist Traditions and Transformations 8 Feb – 8 June 2014

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Twelve-Armed Chakrasamvara and His Consort Vajravarahi

Twelve-Armed Chakrasamvara and His Consort Vajravarahi (detail), ca. 12th century. India, west Bengal or Bangladesh. Phyllite; H. 5 in. (12.7 cm); W. 3 1/8 in. (7.9 cm); D. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Perry J. Lewis, 1988 (1988.392)

This exhibition singles out two periods when the Buddhist Tibetan tradition drew from outside influences to develop new vocabularies of form. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, after a period of political and religious disruption, contact with the great monasteries of North India led to considerable exchange. Looking from the Indian perspective, the exhibition examines how esoteric imagery, texts, and Vajrayana ritual practices contributed to reshaping the complex religious landscape of Tibet. Today, contemporary Tibetan artists are again addressing and incorporating ideas central to the current global reality, in an effort to recontextualize long-standing core Buddhist ideals. The exhibition will include five loans and eighteen objects drawn from department holdings. Continue reading

Video Lecture: Early Buddhist Statues in China by Dr. Yucheng Wen, former Director of Longmen Grottoes

University of the West

Published on Feb 12, 2014

Dr. Yucheng Wen is the former Director of Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang, Henan Province in China, as well as distinguished Professor at Central University of Minorities in Beijing, Shandong University, and Zhengzhou University. He is also a Standing Member of several institutions, such as Dunhuang-Turpan Society, Association for Archaeology in Henan Province, China Association for Oriental Culture Studies, and China Tourist Culture Society. Currently he serves as the Deputy Director of Oriental Culture Society in Henan Province and honorary Director of Longmen Grottoes in Luoyan.Professor Wen is a prolific author. His books and articles on Buddhist art and archaeology include “Buddhism and Archaeology in China”, “Longmen Grottoes in Royal Style”, and “China’s Grottoes: Longmen”.

English translation of Dr. Wen’s lectures is by University of the West’s Dr. Darui Long, who is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies.

Buddha statues get bigger on mainland China in bid to lure tourists

South China Morning Post
He Huifeng
05 February, 2014

Giant statues of sage spring up all over mainland as developers and officials bid to lure tourists


Tourists visit the popular Lingshan Grand Buddha at Wuxi, Jiangsu province, which stands 88 metres high. Photo: Shutterstock

Local officials on the mainland are drawing inspiration from Buddha, but perhaps not in a way he might have intended.

Tourism bureaus and developers are racing to build ever-higher statues of Buddha, in an attempt to copy the success of the Lingshan Grand Buddha in Wuxi, Jiangsu province. Continue reading

‘Dying’ Buddha statue found to have crystal embedded in chest

Asahi Shimbun
February 02, 2014

dying buddha

The Buddhist statue found in Shin Chion-in temple in Otsu (Yoshinori Mizuno)

OTSU–A crystal has been discovered embedded in the chest of a palm-sized Buddhist statue, believed to date to the early Kamakura Period (1192-1333), perhaps symbolizing the light from Buddha’s body, the Otsu City Museum of History said Feb. 1.

In Buddhist statues, crystals have been discovered in eyes, fingertips and a white lock between the eyebrows, but not in the chest. The crystal measures 2.5 centimeters long and 1.5 cm wide. Continue reading

Photos: 10 Famous Buddha Statues

January 21, 2014

The study of Buddhism has inspired some of the world’s most beautiful contributions to the world of art, most notable in the form of statues known as Buddharupa (literally, the form of the Awakened One) that adorn Buddhist temples of worship. Listed here are ten of the world’s most famous and beautiful statues celebrating the Awakened One and his message of peace.

10  Hussain Sagar Buddha Statue
Hussain Sagar Buddha Statue

The Buddha statue situated at the center of an artificial lake in the city of Hyderabad is one of India’s most famous Buddha statues. This figure stands at a full 17 meters (56 feet) tall and weighs 320 tons. The single largest monolithic statue in all of India, it was sculpted by a group of artisans from a single piece of stone. Tragically, during the statue’s installation in 1992 the figure tipped over and fell into the lake, causing the death of 8 workers. The government recovered the statue and restored it to its full height and stature.

For the other nine, follow the [link].

Buddhist statue carved from tsunami-struck pine trees

Asahi Shimbun
January 24, 2014


Buddhist statue sculptor Seizan Watanabe carves Ayumi Kannon. (Provided by Seizan Watanabe)

RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture–About 7,000 people across Japan created a Buddhist statue from trees of a forest that was flattened by the 2011 tsunami.

Seizan Watanabe, a Buddhist statue sculptor based in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, was the main carver of the kannon (deity of mercy) statue.

But thousands of others also played a part. Continue reading

Buddha statue specialty shop opens in Tokyo’s Omotesando area

Japan Today
DEC. 15, 2013

Buddha statue specialty shop opens in Tokyo's Omotesando area

The great number of Buddha statues Japan boasts are cherished not only as artworks but also as relics from ancient times. The appearances and expressions of Buddha statues that are over a thousand years old conjure an atmosphere that can best be described with the words “Cool Japan!”

The Buddha statue brand “isumu” has opened its first shop in Omotesando, one of the trendiest areas in Tokyo, to offer products that faithfully imitate the beautiful forms of those ancient statues in sizes that can be appreciated as an element of interior decoration. Isumu Omotesando is a specialist Buddha statue shop that embraces the traditional Japanese beauty of Buddha statues in a modern environment. Continue reading