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Unfinished Buddha Statue

By Gaurav Manandhar at
Unfinished Buddha Statue

Unfinished Buddha Statue

This Unfinished Buddha statue, currently located in Karmawibhangga, is believed to be originated from the largest stupa of Borobudur. The name itself suggests that this Buddhist art is not completed due to unknown reason. When observed the hands of the statue are not fully carved. The right arm is longer than the left and one of the shoulders is bigger than the other.

Historical accounts of the Unfinished Buddha statue

The original location of the statue has been a subject of dispute. There are various beliefs regarding this matter. Whatever may be the original location, it was found inside a hollow chamber of the large stupa at Borobudur monument. Some scholars believe that the statue is unfinished because it was deemed flawed. It was thought that destroying a Buddha statue will just make oneself guilt so the supervisor may have placed it in the stupa simply to get rid of it.

The unfinished Buddha statue was found only in the early 20th century by Theodore Van Erp who supervised the restoration of Borobudur. He found the main stupa was empty but discovered the Unfinished Buddha buried in the dirt inside it. At the time, he didn't find any record regarding the statue. Therefore, he placed it under a pili tree next to the temple. By observing the statue he felt that the statue was a failed one and was thrown away. Even Prof. Soekmono supported his opinion because he learned that the statue was never mentioned in the time of Borobudur's recovery in the era of Raffles in 1814.

Bernard Kempers also agreed on the opinion since he found out that there was a same misshaped Buddha statue in India from the Chinese record of 604 CE.

Currently, the statue is placed at Karmawibhangga Museum located at the Archeological Park around Borobudur.

Opinions based on the Buddha statue

It is believed that the unfinished Buddha placed inside the stupa has a symbol within the statue. Many people have postulated their own reasons. One of them is the belief as the symbol of the Adi Buddha. It is because of the interpretation of its imperfect form. It shows the local genius of the artists of that time. The imperfect form describes moksha: from the existence into the non-existence, from rupa into arupa.

Some scholars also assumed that the unfinished Buddha in the center of Borobudur is the symbol of Shakyamuni. They assumed this on the basis of the Avatamsaka Sutra which was taught by Sakyamuni himself immediately after the enlightenment.

This assumption is also supported by the fact that the unfinished Buddha statue shows the bhumisparsa mudra. This mudra was first displayed by Sakyamuni to call the earth as his witness for his enlightenment. Meanwhile, as for Vairochana Buddha, he is displayed with dharmachakra mudra Buddhas of the upper three terraces of Borobudur. Also in Buddhist iconographies throughout Asia, various forms of Buddhas displaying dharmachakra mudra are associated with Vairochana.

W.F. Sttuterheim, a Dutch archeologist, in his Sanghyang Kamahayanikan text mentioned that Borobudur has 505 Buddha statues. It is believed that the highest embodiment statue is the statue of Bhatara Buddha who is invisible. In the present context, if anyone counts the Buddha statues at Borobudur it will be only 504. Hence, Sttuterheim concluded that the unfinished Buddha statue is the Bhatara Buddha.

Statues at Antique Buddha Statues

The Buddha Statues here at Antique Buddha Statues are of high quality collected from many different countries. All of the Buddha statues for sale are fully finished and are of high quality. Check our gallery for many more Buddha statues stored in our place.