The Buddha Shakymuni is shown here seated in vajraparyankasana on a moon disk on a lotus emerged from a lake. His right hand is in earth-witness gesture and the left hand in meditation position. The earth-witness gesture of the Buddha reminds the event of his enlightenment at Bodhgaya. His figure is well drawn. He has an oval face; his half closed eyes, and smiling face convey the expression of calm, serene, love and compassion. His hair, painted in gold, is fashioned in small curls with prominent ushnisha (protuberance). There is a jewel on the top of his head. The characteristic signs of a Buddha broad shoulders, long earlobes, trivali (three lines on the neck) etc. are precisely shown in the present figure of the Buddha. His robes whose patches are bordered with gold are decorated with geometric designs. There is a mandorla and a halo behind his body and head, respectively. Amitabha, the Buddha of infinite light are seated in the upper center in clouds. The upper right and left corners are filled with the images of auspicious symbols, followed by two semicircles in which two deities are shown in dancing attitude in clouds. The bottom corners are filled with perhaps the figures of Sariputra and Maudgalyayana, the chief disciples of the Buddha Shakyamuni. These two from their prominence in the system seem to have contributed materially to its success, having died before their master, the first of the patriarchs was the senior surviving disciple, Mahakashyapa. The bottom center of the painting is filled with auspicious offerings.
The middle and foreground is filled with mountainous landscape, high peaks, lakes, natural vegetation and clouds etc. The thangka is very much suitable for sadhana and for the ritual to obtain power and compassion.
A.Getty, The Gods Of Northern Buddhism, Tokyo, 1962
L.A. Waddell, Buddhism & Lamaism of Tibet, New Delhi, 1979 (reprint)
M.M. Rhie & R.A.F. Thurman, World of Transformation: Tibetan Art of Wisdom and Compassion, New York, 1999
This description by Dr. Shailendra Kumar Verma, Ph.D. His doctorate thesis being on the "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D)."