Requires Photography

Shakyamuni Buddha

18th–19th century

Object Place: Tibet


68 x 53 cm (26 3/4 x 20 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Distemper and gold on cotton, with remnants of silk brocade mounts

Not On View





Painting with remnants of decorative border, would have originally been in thangka format.

A large central figure of Buddha Shakyamuni sits in meditation posture with his right hand in bhumisparsa mudra and his left hand in dhyana mudra holding his begging bowl. He wears elaborate monastic robes with intricate designs in gold and both his hands and feet are painted red on the palms. He is seated on a lotus throne set on an elaborate architectural platform with two snow lions and brocade-like ornament. Shakyamuni radiates golden light and is surrounded by flowering plants. Above him in the sky is the Buddha Amitayus (red, holding vase) flanked by apsarases in the clouds who bear offerings. Standing on either side of Shakyamuni are attendant monks. Below, the four directional kings stand engulfed in blue flames. In the center is Vaishravana, seated on a snow lion. Below are offerings on a tray. The scene is set against Chinese-style mountains.


On reverse, brief mantras written in Tibetan sanskrit behind each figure: "Man, ka, lam." Long inscription in Tibetan, behind central figure, still to be read.


1921, William Sturgis Bigelow, Boston, MA; 1921, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 7, 1921)

Credit Line

Gift of William Sturgis Bigelow Collection