The Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of the finest Asian and European art collections that has enlightened and strengthened my understanding in my personal art experience.
Walking into the Hall of Buddhas, there was a sense of peace and guidance lingering inside me. The Seated Buddha, of the Tang dynasty, ca.650, from China, made of dry lacquer with traces of gilt and polychrome pigments, height 38 in, and width 27 in, sculpture-in-the-round. One of characteristics of seated Buddha is his seated posture. This posture of benevolence sits in the full lotus position, cross legged with heels placed on their opposing thighs, though the lower part of sculpture is missing. The damage arms lay on the legs. The positions of arms suggest that the hands performed the "contemplation" gesture, which imply the peace and endurance. The ear-lobes of the Buddha are elongated. The protuberance at the top of the head is of an unnatural regularity and terminates in a finial.
The full torso, massive shoulder, and shallow, stylized drapery indicate strong Central Asian influence. The closed eyes and light smile was a delicate fixed gesture that offered a feeling of the peace.
Buddhist images executed in dry lacquer were highly valued by the Chinese because of their costly and time-consuming process of production. There are so few surviving examples that this seated Buddha is especially precious. To fashion the body of the image, the craftsman made a rough form of the sculpture in clay and then applied at least three layers of hemp cloth, each secured with a paste made of raw lacquer and a fine powder of bone, horn, shell, ceramic, stone, or carbon. Each layer had to dry thoroughly before the next could be added. The clay core was then removed from the lacquered image. The head...