How Do I Identify a Buddha Statue?

Buddha Statue

By Amy Underdown, London, UK

The Buddha is depicted in many forms, each with a specific meaning and purpose. Take the Laughing Buddha, for example: it is easy to see that he is not supposed to simply represent the usual Buddha we see depicted through statues but with more of a penchant for large food portions. Even aside from the Laughing Buddha (who is the most well-known statue not to represent the Buddha himself), the different statues of Buddha do indeed represent different facets of the teacher.

As complicated as it may originally sound, you needn’t be a Sherlock Holmes to unlock the secrets of identifying the Buddha. In fact, there are generally two key criteria to look out for: the position of the body and the way in which the Buddha holds his hands, which is also known as the mudra.

Buddha Statue

The body position has several variations, from the obvious differences between seated, standing and reclining, to the more intricate details of how his crossed legs overlap. The mudra are slightly more elaborate and specific, with the ways in which the arms, fingers, palms are facing and held being of upmost importance. It is through these combinations that we can identify what exactly the Buddha statue is intended to communicate. This is important to understand, as to truly respect and resonate with our Buddha statue we must know what it can help us with.

In our article The Meaning’s Behind the Buddha’s Positions we have curated a list of the most important Buddha statue styles and which positions and mudra are key to their characterisation. This way, you can find the perfect piece for you.