Buddha, probably Shakyamuni (Shijiamouni)

Period: Sixteen Kingdoms period (304–439)

Date: late 4th–early 5th century

Culture: China

Medium: Gilt bronze; piece-mold cast

Dimensions: H. 6 1/2 in. (16.5 cm); W. 2 3/4 in. (7 cm); D. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Arthur M. Sackler Gift, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.268.8a–c


Representations of the Buddha wearing a thick shawl over both shoulders and sitting atop a throne with lions on either side are Chinese adaptations of images derived from the northwest region of the Indian subcontinent, particularly from areas in present-day Pakistan (known as Gandhara in the ancient world). Scientific examination of this sculpture has shown that it was cast using several ceramic molds, a technique that was also used to create the ancient bronze ritual vessels on view in this gallery. By the fifth century, the lost-wax method, which may have been introduced with Buddhism, was used more often for the casting of Chinese sculptures.