Figure of the infant Buddha

This figure of the baby Buddha is related to the story of his birth, where the newly-born Buddha took seven steps in each of the cardinal directions. With one hand pointing to the heavens and the other pointing to the earth, he proclaimed that he was the only one who could save beings from the endless cycle of suffering. Another story mentions that he was first bathed by water sprinkled by nine dragons. Lacquered and gold-painted or gilded figures of the standing infant Buddha such as this are popular in Mahayana Buddhist temples in north Vietnam. Such figures are placed on temple altars, flanked by a pair of dragons. They are also carried in processions to mark Vesak Day.

Early 20th century
Hanoi, North Vietnam
Object size: H:49 x W:17.5 x D:16 cm
Accession No.
Wood, lacquer, gilding
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum