An image of Buddha calling the Earth to witness (bhumisparsha mudra)

Unknown Artist

Buddha calling the Earth to witness (bhumisparsha mudra)

Other titles:
Figure of Buddha, Buddha on the lion throne
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

Early Buddhist images from Burma have distinctive stylistic qualities that distinguish them from their South-east Asian counterparts. In Burmese Buddhism, which followed the Theravada path, the dominant figure is Akshobhya, represented here. In this characteristic pose the Buddha is seated with feet upturned, bearing wheel marks on his soles. A button-like protuberance on his forehead resembles the 'urna'. The left hand rests face up on the lap in the meditation 'mudra'; the right hangs with the tips of the outstretched fingers touching the ground in the 'bhumispara mudra'. With this gesture the Buddha invokes the earth to witness his resistance of the temptations of the spirit of evil, Mara.

Place of origin
Pagan, Myanmar
late 12th century
copper alloy
12.0 cm
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 1997
Accession number
Collection Beurdeley Matthews, London, Apr 1981, London/England, offered for sale in the exhibition ‘Burmese art and its influences’, April 1981, London.
Alex Biancardi, pre Apr 1997, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 1997.