This magnificent brass-statue, a lofty image unparalleled in its plasticity, modeling, elegance, finish, overall quality, stylistic versatility and spiritual fervour, represents Lord Buddha immersed in deep meditation : searching within him answers to questions facing the life, and simultaneously interpreting the meaning of his finds to the world beyond. An intricate form of image, the statue manifests at least two aspects of his being : the Buddha in meditation – one on a quest searching within, and the Buddha on the mission of teaching or interpreting, that is, ascending to light and leading the light to descend upon the world and enlighten it.
Not exactly one of the forms rigidified in the Buddha’s iconography,
this image of the Buddha represents him in his more accomplished form
: the Buddha in total. This image, a masterpiece of Tibetan tradition
of the Buddha’s iconography, slightly Indianised, the same style of
coiffure, tuft of hair above and a ‘mani’ – gem, atop, extra large
earlobes, sharp narrower nose with pointed tip, lips almost with the
same breath as has the nose, face with a broad upper and angular
lower, eye-brows, almost like a flying eagle in distant sky, eyes
covered under folds of eye-lids looking like those of an elephant,
broad shoulders, tall arms but palms and fingers of moderate size,
represents Lord Buddha seated cross-legged with feet turned upwards,
having appearance of lotus-petals, a posture conventionalised in
spiritual iconography as padmasana.
The image is unparalleled in its artistic merit and divine lustre. The
composure on the face, the mode of his left hand with upwards turned
palm, closed eyes and sublimity enshrining his entire being are
obviously the attributes of ‘dhyana’ – meditation. One of the most
attracting features of the image is the sheet of cloth wrapped around
the Buddha’s body known in the Buddhist tradition as ‘sanghati’.
Against the Buddha’s golden hued body the sanghati, draping his
figure, overwhelms the eye with the magic of its rich lustrous maroon
which its broad gold border designed beautifully and the sanghati’s
more visible parts inlaid with gold patterns : shoulder, arm,
knee-points …, further multiply. The artist has not conceived a seat
to install his image. Rather, he has so arranged the gold border of
sanghati, especially its lotus-like forepart : five bell-shaped loops,
that it looks like a seat under the image. He has added beneath it
just three legs, designed like a lion’s, two on the front and one on
the back. Conjointly with them the border acquires a seat’s look.
The statue represents the post-enlightenment period in the Buddha’s
life. It is after the realization has been accomplished that his right
hand ejects proclaiming that the path to light has been obtained. With
the twist and curve of its forefinger and thumb, a gesture
conventionalised in iconographic tradition as ‘vitark’ or
‘vyakhyana-mudra’ – interpretive or teaching posture, it removes the
veil of ignorance and brings the light in. The Buddha’s images in
‘vitark’ or ‘vyakhyana-mudra’ illustrate two contexts : one, the
‘dharma-chakra-pravartana’ – setting the wheel of Law in motion, the
occasion of his first sermon that he delivered at Sarnath to his five
prior colleagues after attaining Enlightenment, and the other, his
journey pan subcontinent as the universal teacher. However, the
portrayal of both in Buddhist sculptures varies from this image. While
in the former ‘vitark-mudra’ is the both hands’ gesture, in the
latter, ‘vitark-mudra’ is invariably the gesture of a standing or
rather walking Buddha figure, not seated as here.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.
How to keep a Brass statue well-maintained?
Brass statues are known and appreciated for their exquisite beauty and luster. The brilliant bright gold appearance of Brass makes it appropriate for casting aesthetic statues and sculptures. Brass is a metal alloy composed mainly of copper and zinc. This chemical composition makes brass a highly durable and corrosion-resistant material. Due to these properties, Brass statues and sculptures can be kept both indoors as well as outdoors. They also last for many decades without losing all their natural shine.
Brass statues can withstand even harsh weather conditions very well due to their corrosion-resistance properties. However, maintaining the luster and natural beauty of brass statues is essential if you want to prolong their life and appearance.
In case you have a colored brass statue, you may apply mustard oil using a soft brush or clean cloth on the brass portion while for the colored portion of the statue, you may use coconut oil with a cotton cloth.
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