Antique Buddha as an Infant Standing on a Lion, China (19405DRK)


H: 9″  W: 3.625″  D: 3.5″ | FREE UPS SHIPPING!

This rare carving of the infant Buddha with well defined features is clearly a provincial rendering that uniquely departs from traditional renderings. He holds a monk’s begging bowl as he points to the heavens and he stands on a lion’s head rather than a lotus, demonstrating that Shakyamuni Buddha is the lion of the Shakya clan. Given its small size, it was probably displayed on a home altar.


Shakyamuni-Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in 560 BCE in Lumbini Park in the Himalayan foothills, son of king Śuddhodana Gautama of the Shakya clan and Queen Maya. According to Buddhist scriptures both his conception and birth were miraculous. In accordance with scriptures that note that the Buddha was born fully formed, this infant Buddha portrays him fully developed standing on infant legs firmly planted on the ground, one hand pointing up to the heavens and the other down to earth symbolizing his supremacy over all aspects of the universe. Although an infant, his facial features reflect the adult Buddha with pendulous ears and often with a wisp of hair atop his head to represent his infancy and to associate him with youthful monks or deities. Created by a provincial artisan, the iconography here departs from traditional Buddhist-Statues. While normally his left hand points to the heavens, here he holds a monk’s bowl reflecting the Buddhist tradition of feeding monks by placing food in a begging bowl. Rather than standing on a plain or lotus base, he stands on a lion’s head, symbolizing that Shakyamuni is the lion of the Shakya clan. This iconography probably stems from depictions of two bodhisattvas (Manjushri and Guanyin) who are shown on the backs of a one of Buddhism’s mythical animals, a recumbent Buddhist lion that is associated with simhanada meaning “the Lion’s Roar” which is a Buddhist description of the intensity experienced at the moment of enlightenment. As king of all beasts the lion’s roar is heard over long distances; this reflects the wide and rapid spread of Buddhist ideas, the scriptural proclamation that he made immediately after his birth, and that he had no equal. Although wood of Buddha statues as an infant are very rare because they were infrequently displayed in home settings, this small sized image may have been placed on a home altar Most of the original white base and polychrome was removed but remnants show the original red and black pigments and lacquer. It is in very good condition considering its age and use and has expected cracks and chips found and a loss on the right hand. It is mounted on a frosted smoky acrylic stand to add stability and enhance its remarkable presence. This statue is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Buddhist-Statues.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara of the Lion’s Roar, or Simhanada Avalokiteshvara (Shi Hou Guanyin, Shi Hou Guanyin

Additional information

Dimensions 12 × 9 × 9 in
Place of Origin



Antique, Qing Dynasty


18th-19th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 9” W: 3.625” D: 3.5”

Dimensions (metric)

: Ht: 22.22cm W: 9.21cm D: 8.89cm


9.3 oz


Good, paint/surface losses consistent with age and use, no restorations/repairs

Shipping Box Size

Reference Number