An image of Amitabha Buddha

Unknown Artist

Amitabha Buddha

Upper Asian gallery
Further information

This monumental stone image of the seated Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of the West, sits with his hands held in the meditation gesture (in Sanskrit known as 'dhyana mudra'), his feet in the 'vajrasana' position of both soles upwards, and wearing the thin diaphanous robe of a monk. Deeply immersed in meditation, the Buddha emanates the serenity, wisdom and spirituality expected of the central icon of Buddhism. It is likely that originally this Buddha was part of a specific grouping. For example, Amitabha, together with Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha, and Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, constitutes the powerful triumvirate of Past, Present and Future Buddhas. As well, Amitabha as the Buddha of the West, appears in mandalas on the western quarter.

The concept of the mandala, a diagrammatic representation of the invisible forces that govern the cosmos, was brought to Indonesia with Vajrayana Buddhism. Vajrayana mandalas commonly have five Buddhas: the Buddhas of the Four Directions, presided over by Vairochana, the Buddha of the Centre. The largest three-dimensional mandala, and a site of world cultural significance, is at Borobudur, an astounding 9th century monument that contains nearly 500 Buddhist statues. Stylistically this Buddha is close to those at Borobudur, and presumably belonged to such a set that once constituted a temple mandala, with Amitabha Buddhas presiding over the west.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.339.

Place of origin
Central Java, Java, Indonesia
late 8th century-mid 9th century
105.0 x 88.0 x 65.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 2000
Accession number
Private Collection, pre 06 Sep 1983, Geneva/Switzerland
Nelly Batache, 06 Sep 1983-Nov 1989, Paris/France, purchased through the Orientalische Kunst-Anstalt (art dealership), Vaduz, Liechtenstein with the assistance of Paris- based art dealer, Jean-Michel Beurdeley. Condition report certified by Jean-Michel Beurdeley, 28 November 1989, Paris.
Eddy Batache, 1989-2000, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, by descent. On loan to Art Gallery of New South Wales through Mr Eddy Batache from 1989. Purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2000.