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Female Buddha

Female Buddha Statue

Reflecting the Subordinate status of women in the ancient cultures of Asia, Buddhist imagery tends to be overwhelmingly masculine. However, some schools of the Mahayana tradition do recognize female Buddhas, though they are only rarely represented in art.

The best known female Buddhas are the counterparts or consorts of the cosmic Buddhas, representing the Buddhas' wisdom, which is perceived as a 'feminine' quality complementing the 'masculine' quality of compassion.

This Javanese image represents Mamaki, the partner of Ratnasambhawa, the Buddha of the South. Like him, she sits in the cross-legged meditation posture and makes the gesture of generosity with her right hand while holding a lotus in her left. It may have come from the southern face of Javanese Stupa like that at Borobodur, where the terraces from a Mandala of the universe.

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