‘Crowned Buddha’, 10th-11th century, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wt. 7 lbs (7 lbs (3.2 kg)

The Buddha is touching the earth at the moment of enlightenment. His crown, necklace, eyes, and urna (forehead dot) are inlaid with silver; the flaming mandorla and the stepped throne were inlaid with lapis lazuli and rock crystal (extremely rare surviving vestiges of these materials can be seen on the base). The crown seems to be at odds with the Buddha’s renouncing his princely childhood. While the diverse meaning of the crown is debated, in Tibet it often refers to heavens or pure lands where cosmic Buddhas reside and are accessible to worshippers through devotion and ritual.

Image rights: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tibet and India: Buddhist Traditions and Transformations, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, 1993