Black stone or marble
Bengal or Bihar, Eastern India
11th-12th century (Pala period)
Museum no. IS.617-1872
The Buddha is represented crowned and bejewelled in the style of a royal figure. He wears a tall crown and transparent robe which clings to the body and is adorned with a necklace and earrings. The use of royal imagery to evoke spiritual authority is apparent in this sculpture. He is seated on a double lotus throne beneath which rests a thunderbolt sceptre (vajra), symbol of an enlightened mind. With his right hand he points to the earth as witness of his enlightenment and beneath the vajra the Earth Goddess Prithvi appears, bearing witness to the Buddha's authority, with kneeling devotees on either side. To the Buddha's right stands the Bodhisattva Padmapani (holding a lotus stem) whilst on the left is the Bodhisattva Maitreya. Seated on lotus thrones above the standing figures are the Bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Manjusri with celestial beings carrying scarves flying above them. Makara (sea monsters) and kinnara (bird-legged celestial musicians) appear on the back of the Buddha's throne.