The first anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha are said to have been drawn on canvas from rays of golden light emanating from his body. Later Buddhist art pictured the Buddha in numerous manifestations, but always as an archetype of human potential, never as a historically identifiable person. All forms of the Buddha, however, are commonly shown seated on a lotus throne, a symbol of the mind's transcendent nature. As a lotus rises from the mud to bloom unsullied in open space, so too does the mind rise throught the discord of its own experience to blossom in the boundlessness of unconditional awareness. The word 'Buddha' too in Sanskrit means "to be awakened." Indeed expressed in art, Buddhas are not objects of worship, but mirrors of our innermost being, icons of the journey from ignorance to illumination.
Calmly poised and with a benevolent demeanor, the Shakyamuni sits dominating the central part of the composition. His extended earlobes, now empty of adornment, were stretched out of shape by the weight of the costly jewelry he wore before renouncing his princely status. The two discerning marks of Buddhahood, namely the urna (mark between the brows), and ushnisha (bump on the head) are displayed here. Another of the major signs of the Buddha's body is his deep and resonant voice, which is artistically symbolized here by three conch-like curving lines on his throat. His lips though are lightly pursed like two delicate flower petals just about to bloom, as if symbolizing his new found ability to deliver his first sermon.