Antique Ming/Qing Wood Shakyamuni Buddha in Meditation, China (16089BMEM) $3400


H: 14”  W: 9.375”  D: 7.25” | FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION CONTACT US AT 213-568-3030

This fine rare Ming/Qing carving depicts Shakyamuni Buddha in meditation is made from fine dense wood with much of its iridescent pigmentation. He is masterfully carved with a serene, benevolent and pensive expression wearing plain but elegantly carved monks robes. This spiritual piece is a small yet very powerful image.


Although there have been countless Buddhas, only Shakyamuni is considered The Buddha, the historical figure who lived on earth and was the source of teachings that became Buddhist doctrine. He sits in meditation (dhyana) denoting perfect physical and spiritual balance legs in padmasana,  one bare foot faced up, hands in meditation (dhyana). As the posture he assumed under the Bodhi tree before his enlightenment it is the most common pose in Mahayana Buddhism in the Ming and Qing dynasties. He wears a three-part monks robe with the shawl over his shoulders and back. His presence radiates serenity with downcast eyes and slightly smiling mouth. He has identifying characteristics referred to as lakshanas:  three neck creases symbolizing luck, and an ushnisha, a raised cranial protuberance denoting the seat of intellectual powers, wisdom, and divine energy. The bump in the ushnisha is a nikkeishu in Japanese, is a jewel radiating the light of wisdom. His head is snail-crowned, with raised rounded spiral curls, an allusion to when he was lost in meditation oblivious to the Sun’s rays snails in gratitude for his love for all sentient beings formed a protective hood with their cool bodies.  According to the Laita-Vistara  text which recounts Shakyamuni’s life, he had a “…large skull, broad forehead…skin fine and the color of gold; his hair black and curly.” Medium antique Buddha images are rare and this display old insect and deterioration from age or conditions during China’s modernization. Repairs were commonly made in the past by Buddhist temple artisans with assistance from donors who financed them to gain merit. This one was composed of two pieces seen from the underside front partially covered with a tightly woven gauze-like textile. This might have replaced an original damaged section as it was common for both white paint and white textiles to cover damaged sections, and it does not affect the carving’s integral structure or beauty. The concealed bung closing its back cavity indicates it was consecrated.


Fredrick W. Bunce, A Dictionary of Buddhist and Hindu Iconography, New Delhi, D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd., 2001.

Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky, Images of Asia: Chinese Buddhist Art, New York, Oxford University Press, 2002.

Meyer McArthur, Reading Buddhist Art: An Illustrated guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols, London, Thames and Hudson, 2002.

C.A.S. Williams, Chinese Symbols and Art Motifs, New York, Dover Publications, 1978.

Additional information

Place of Origin



Antique, Ming/Qing Dynasties


17-18th Century

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 14”. W: 9.375” D: 7.25”

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 35.56cm W: 23.81cm D:18.41cm


Very good, see description

Item Number


Shipping Box Size