Shakyamuni Buddha with His Disciples Shariputra and Maudgalyayana
MediumPigments, gilding on sized cloth
DimensionsWork : 3 5/8 x 3 1/4 x 3/8 in. (9.21 cm x 8.25 cm x 10 mm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
After Shakyamuni Buddha achieved enlightenment, he traveled around Northern India and Nepal preaching the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. He soon attracted thousands of followers, including hundreds of men and women who took spiritual vows and became his disciples. Two of Shakyamuni’s principle disciples were Shariputra and Maudgalyayana. Buddhist texts say that Shariputra and Maudgalyayana were both members of upper-caste Brahmin families who renounced their elite status to follow the Buddha and eventually achieved enlightenment under his direction. Here Shariputra and Maudgalyayana are shown standing in front of an enthroned Shakyamuni Buddha, wearing monks’ robes, and carrying monks’ staffs and alms bowls. A large basin on the ground between them contains offerings to the Buddha, including a cluster of three symbolic jewels, a golden wheel emblem, and a pair of ivory tusks. The back of the painting is inscribed with three identical consecration mantras, indicating that it may once have been used as a devotional object by a Mongolian Buddhist monk or lay person.