Seated Transcendent Buddha Vairochana

Period: Central Javanese period

Date: ca. late 9th century

Culture: Indonesia (Java)

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 7 5/8 in. (19.4 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Gift of Samuel Eilenberg, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.142.23


This splendid Buddha is seated on a large double-lotus pedestal in the cross-legged yogic, adamantine posture of vajraparyankasana, the right leg over the left, with the soles of both feet facing upward. His robe is draped to leave the right shoulder bare, and a portion of the garment that covers the left wrist falls behind the figure. The lower hem of the robe comes all the way down so that the undercloth or skirt is completely covered.

The Buddha's raised right hand makes the teaching or expository gesture (vitarkamudra) and his left rests on his right foot, in a gesture that approximates the dhyanamudra, or meditative gesture. This combination is one assigned to Vairochana, a transcendent Buddha that plays an important role in early Esoteric Buddhism and provides the basis for the tentative identification of this figure, which may have been part of a larger three-dimensional assemblage such as a mandala.