Death of the Buddha (Parinirvana)
When the Buddha was eighty, he died near the city of Kushinagara, breaking free of the cycle of rebirth and reaching nirvana. This panel, which would have been set into the harmika at the top of a stupa (relic mound), shows the Buddha surrounded by lay people and disciples mourning in various states of grief. Their reactions are contrasted with the perfect calm of the monk with his back turned, who is presumed to be Subhadra. Subhadra realizes there is no reason for sorrow, as the Buddha has reached nirvana. Although we cannot be fully sure of the person being Subhadra because the image of the person’s face is turned away from us, the museum of Metropolitan art presumes that the identified person is in fact Subhadra. It is not stated why the museum thinks this and I cannot find any correlation between Siddhartha and Subhadra. This sculpture, unlike the previous Lintel Frieze, shows many of his disciples mourning from the death of Siddhartha. The surrounding monks, other than what is thought to be Subhadra, seem to be looking around hopelessly. This hopelessness is probably what his disciples felt when he died. This is a very small sculpture with the dimensions being: H. 26 in. (66 cm); W. 26 in. (66 cm); D. 3 in. (7.6 cm). The sculpture has some parts where it is very worn and even chipped, but Siddhartha himself looks to be in very good shape compared to the surrounding parts of the sculpture which may be contributed by the owner of the sculpture caring for the center piece of Siddhartha more than the surrounding disciples. This sculpture can currently be found at the Art Metropolitan museum of art.
Buddhism: REL 222, Arts of Asia: ART 276
Dec. 9th- Dec.10th, 2015
Will Rathjen, Aafreen Vohra. Jessica Davis, Keeley Eames
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