Fasting Siddhartha

Title: Fasting Siddhartha
Location: Sikri, Khaibar Pakhtun, Pakistan
Culture: Gandhara
Medium: Schist Stone
Dimensions: W.21” H.33” D.10” – Measurements taken by the Lahore Museum, Pakistan.
Repository: Lahore Museum, Lahore, Pakistan

Made of schist stone, standing at a width of 21”, a height of 33”, and a diameter 10”, this small carved sculpture is a depiction of the Fasting Siddhartha, later known as Buddha, before he reached enlightenment. The sculpture is carved to have Buddha sitting atop a pedestal, with his arms and legs crossed. Draping off of his elbows and forearms, this Buddha is shown to have garments covering the lower half of his body. Due to this, Buddha’s chest and upper arms are exposed, highlighting this sculpture’s fine detail which shows malnurishment. Specifically, his arms are exceptionally skinny, with little veins pressed through the skin. His chest is similar, showing each individual rib, with detailed veins running across as well. Moving upwards, Buddha’s head and neck also have details which suggest malnourishment including no fat on the neck exposing his esophagus, thinned cheeks, and deepened circles around his eyes. Behind Buddha’s head, the sculpture has a circular disk, perhaps resembling the moon, suggesting the necessary darkness of this piece. Furthermore, this depiction of Buddha shows him at one of his most unrecognizable and painful states on the way to enlightenment, but arguably the most important. It highlights that to achieve enlightenment there must be suffering, just as to understand the sun’s light there must be a moon and the night’s darkness.


Photo Reference: Photo taken by the Lahore Museum.

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Author: Ryan Mach

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