Shakyamuni Buddha is the historical Buddha, born in 563 BC in the Shakya republic, which is located on the present India-Nepal border. As a prince he renounced his kingdom and sought and found perfect enlightenment. After teaching extensively for 45 years, he attained parinirvana in approximately 483 BC. The scenes forming the backgroung to this fine painting probably depict parts of the Avadanakalpalata (108 Deeds) of Buddha Shakyamuni during his lives before his enlightenment. Comparable paintings are in the Rubin collection.1 A painting in gouache on cloth depicting a central figure of the Shakyamuni Buddha, painted in gold with orange highlights. The Buddha is seated in the teaching position with a pink and red halo around his head. The backgound of the painting is formed by six horizontal panels, showing various scenes with buildings and figures, and with texts in Sanskrit written in gold.
1 Rhie, M. and Thurman, R.; Worlds of Transformation, Tibetan art of Wisdom and Compassion, New York, page 159, no 13 and 14
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