|THE HEALING BUDDHA
Mandalay Period, 19th Century
carved wood lacquered and gilded with mirror inlay at the base
h. 27 7/8 in., w.? 5 7/8 in., d. 5 7/8 in.
Gift of Konrad and Sarah Bekker, 1986
Standing Buddha image holding a myrobolan fruit and a begging bowl. Another exception to the general development toward simplicity is the worship of the Healing Buddha, a practice borrowed from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. This form is iconographically identified by the Buddha figure holding an alms bowl in his left hand and his clasping a medicinal myrobalan fruit between the thumb and fingers of his right hand. The Burmese adaptation of this image type allowed a remarkable innovation to occur: The Healing Buddha is always shown seated in Mahayana renditions, but here, in the Burmese depiction, he stands. This piece from the 19th century image is one of the earliest known images, in Burma/ Myanmar or elsewhere, to exhibit this new iconography. Here we also could consider as a possible Dipankara Buddha, the first of the earlier Buddhas known for their wisdom and compassion.