Gold-plated Sakyamuni Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)
China: Late Qing Dynasty (late 18th to early 19th centuries)
Sakyamuni, which means “the Awakened one of the Shakya Clan,” is another name for Siddhartha Gautama who was born in modern-day Nepal around 5th century BCE and whose spiritual teachings are the foundation of Buddhism. His father, a king, shielded the prince Gautama from human suffering, knowledge, and religious teachings. After marrying and having a son, Gautama left his palace to meet his subjects.
It is said that on this trip, Gautama saw age, disease, death, and an ascetic for the first time. Overcome with distress, he quit the palace and sought the life of a mendicant. He travelled for a time, learning the ascetic life under various teachers. His spiritual explorations lead him to discover the Middle Way, a religious path between self-indulgence and self-mortification. Seated under a Bodhi tree in India, Gautama vowed not to move until reaching enlightenment, which some say happened in the fifth month of the lunar calendar (others say the twelfth). After reaching enlightenment, he taught his followers about the Four Noble Truths, Nirvana, and the cause of suffering,
Q: Learn more about the Four Noble Truths and Nirvana