View right to left
front: Buddha draped in robes portraying the Realms of Existence back: Buddha draped in robes portraying the Realms of Existence

object: 12083

Buddha draped in robes portraying the Realms of Existence

Buddhist sculpture
Historical period(s)
Northern Qi dynasty, 550-577
H x W x D: 151.3 x 62.9 x 31.3 cm (59 9/16 x 24 3/4 x 12 5/16 in) Weight (without concrete base): 818.5 pounds
China, probably Henan province
Credit Line
Purchase -- Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
According to the sacred text of the Lotus Sutra, when the historical Buddha delivered a sermon a vision of the entire cosmos often appeared before him, which is why he was sometimes called the Cosmological Buddha. The decoration on the front and back of this figure's monastic robe features scenes of the life of the historical Buddha and cosmic imagery.On the front chest of the robe, Mount Sumeru, a sacred Buddhist mountain believed to connect heaven and earth, is depicted with two snakes, or naga, entwined around it. Scenes below illustrate the historical Buddha as a prince before his enlightenment. The tortures of hell appear above the hem.

To 1923
Taku Shanfang, Beijing to 1923 [1]

From 1923
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Taku Shanfang, Beijing by Carl W. Bishop on December 24, 1923 [2]


[1] Object file, folder sheet note #1.

[2] See note 1. Also see Original Bishop List, No. S-9, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

Former owner
Taku Shanfang
On View Location
Sackler: Body of Devotion: The Cosmic Buddha in 3D
Sculpture, Stone
Buddha, Buddhism, China, heaven, hell, Lotus Sutra, Mount Meru, naga, Sui dynasty (581 - 618), Vairocana Buddha
Collection(s) Area
Chinese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer is closed for renovation and reopening in 2017. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.