Ascetic Shakyamuni

Chinese (Chinese)
late 16th-17th century
Ink, color on paper
- : 30 5/8 x 23 3/8 in. (77.79 x 59.37 cm)
- : 6 ft. 9 in. x 25 5/8 in. x 1 5/8 in. (2.1 m x 65.09 cm x 4.13 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
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This painting depicts the Buddha Shakyamuni before his enlightenment, while he was still searching for truth and understanding. Rather than portraying the Buddha as a noble or divine figure, this painting reveals a humbler, human side of Shakyamuni as he crouches on the ground beside a stack of books with his head and arms resting contemplatively on his knees. Images of the Buddha in this pose first appeared in China during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1367) and were associated with the Chan (Zen) school of Buddhism that advocated more individualistic paths to enlightenment.

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