Antique Large Wood Buddha in Teaching (Vitarka) Mudra, China (17013BREM)


H: 30″  W: 18″  D: 10″

This superb, colorful and rare carved Buddha is seated in the teaching vitarka-mudra. His delicately carved serene face has a benevolent and compassionate expression with half-closed almond shaped eyes and a brightly painted bud shaped mouth with a slight smile. The slender and elegant body appears to float above gracefully flowing robes in deeply carved swirls reminiscent of clouds.  The white skin tones are emphasized by the multi-colored robe with hues of cinnabar, cobalt blue, pastel green, and black. The fine features of the face, excellent rendering of the body, and exquisite execution of the drapery  make this a truly impressive and striking image. Given its size and masterful carving and its evident importance, it should hold a place and be revered commensurate with its spirituality and artistry.


This Buddhist statue represents Shakyamuni-Buddha, the historical Buddha just after he reached Enlightenment under the Bodhi tree when he delivered his first Sermon at Deep Park called the Turning of the Wheel. He is seated with his legs in padmasana and one upwards facing foot exposed, hands in vitarka-mudra,  associated with this event that is a metaphor for teaching the way to enlightenment. He holds the right hand in front of the chest, palm turned outwards, joining the tips of the thumb and the middle finger to form a circle while keeping the other fingers straight, and his left holds the same posture in his lap. Using the middle finger rather than the traditional index finger symbolizes great compassion. In this antique-Chinese-wood-carving he displays many of the 32 Buddhist lakshanas (auspicious marks) or “Thirty-two Characteristics of a Great Man” that are physical traits for sanctioned Buddha images that are readily recognizable to his followers. They include elongated fingers, arms and hands and ears; cranial protuberance (ushnisha) surrounded by pointed curls often referred to as a snail-crowned and pendulous ears signifying his wisdom. His half closed eyes and pursed crimson lips are set in a compassionate serene expression. Buddha is always portrayed in monk’s robes, which shows his religious devotion. In the Mahayana tradition his crimson and blue robe three-part monk’s robe cascades in folds and reveal the lower garment (dhoti) gathered at the waist with the shawl over his shoulders extending to his back that reaches his simple pedestal.  Although the front of the statue is in excellent condition with most of the original pigmentation, the back with the cavity indicating it was consecrated, has deteriorated from age but is still structurally sound. During China’s modernization many Buddhist-Statues were seriously damaged or lost, making them extremely rare. This remarkable image is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Buddhist-Art.

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Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Ming/Qing Dynasties


17-18th Century

Materials and Technique

Wood, polychrome

Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 30” W: 18” D: 10”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 76.2cm W: 45.72cm


Very good, no repairs/restorations (see description).


30 lbs

Reference Number


Shipping Box Size