Gilt Bronze Figure of Enlightenment of Sakyamuni Buddha Made by the Mansion of Prince Zhou
29th Year of Ming Emperor Hongwu's Reign (1396)
Total height 6.6cm
The Buddha figure sits in dhyanasana, his left hand is holding the meditation gesture (dhyanamudra) before umbilicus and his right hand is holding the touchdown gesture (bhumisparshamudra) on the right knee. He has tight curling hairs, a smooth domed usnisa, and a round face. He wears a robe dress draped over the left shoulder inside and a partial shirt outside and a monk's skirt (dhoti), with simple and smooth patterns. The statue is small, but exhibits exquisite craftsmanship and elegant simplicity. Both the integral shaping of the statue and its detailed portrayal remain a perfect example of statue-making mastery and charm of the Tang and Song dynasties.
The Buddha seat is a combination of a hexagon girdled Sumeru pedestal supporting the single-layered lotus seat. According to the inscription, the casting of the statue was funded by the Mansion of Prince Zhou, namely, Zhu Su (1361-1425), the fifth son of Emperor Hongwu. From the same mold altogether 5,048 statues were cast.