Shakyamuni Buddha in a full shrine

Title: Shakyamuni Buddha in a full shrine

Date: late 18th- early 19th century

Artist: Unknown (created in Mongolia)

Medium/Material: Silver, turquoise, gilt copper, coral, mother-of-pearl, and lapis lazuli

Dimensions: H x W x D: 58.4 × 30.5 × 27.8 cm (23 × 12 × 10 15/16 in)

Description: In this depiction of the Buddha he is sitting on a very detailed pedestal and shrine, made of a gold color covered in what appears to be gemstones. There are flowers going up and down both sides of the arch behind the Buddha himself, and the centers seem to be red stones or gems. This came as another surprise because Buddhist ideas try to steer away from material wealth and this sculpture is covered in expensive stones. Underneath the pedestal there are animals of some sort, which look like dragons. Unlike the other statue, the actual sculpture of the Buddha is less colorful and in more of a “neutral” tone with one teal gemstone in the center of his forehead. He is in the classic “earth touching” position with one hand reaching down to the ground and the other holding what seems to be a bowl. Some features that I noticed are similar are the classic elongated earlobes, bun updo, and robe attire. 

References: “Shakyamuni Buddha in a Full Shrine.” Freer Gallery of Art & Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 2 July 2021,

Author: Onna Gott

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