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Buddha Calling the Earth to Witness

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Bihar, India, Asia
Probably made near Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, Asia

Medieval Period (c. 600 - c. 1300)

c. Early to mid- 9th century

Schist with traces of gilt decoration

9 1/4 × 6 3/8 × 3 3/8 inches (23.5 × 16.2 × 8.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the George W.B. Taylor Fund, 1921

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Buddha holds his right hand downward in the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparsha mudra) with which he calls the earth goddess to affirm that he is entitled to attain enlightenment following his triumph over Mara, the destroyer. The event occurred under the bodhi (enlightenment) tree at Bodhgaya, at the spot known as the diamond seat (vajrasana), represented here by an elaborate double lotus throne with lions. The frequent images of the Buddha calling the earth to witness imply the doctrinal importance of his enlightenment and of the holy site of Bodhgaya.