, Buddha's footprint [Buddhapada] Enlarge 1 /1
Burmese people Buddha's footprint [Buddhapada] 17th-18th century Title Notes: 108 auspicious symbols of the buddha carved in a grid pattern, chakra on heel, conch shells on each toe
Place made: Burma (Myanmar)
Materials & Technique: sculptures, sandstone
Dimensions: 160.0 h x 85.0 w x 8.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2004
Accession No: NGA 2004.188

Buddhapada, footprints of the Buddha, are representations of the Buddha’s earthly and enduring existence, enlightened nature and religious teachings. Originating in India, Buddhapada are significant symbolic devices providing an evocative link to both the Buddha’s actual presence on earth and his later detachment from the material world.

This Buddhapada is carved with 108 Buddhist symbols. According to some legends, the symbols on stone footprints of the Buddha derive from marks that miraculously appeared when a woman’s tears fell into a set of imprints left in the earth by Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.

Many of the symbols relate to episodes from the previous earthly lives of the Buddha. Others draw on Buddhist concepts of the cosmos, royal insignia, religious paraphernalia and mythical creatures. A number of the symbols, such as those representing rivers, mountains, continents and constellations, can be arranged to form a diagram of the Buddhist universe. At the heel is a wheel, or chakra, symbolising the central Buddhist principle of reincarnation and the teachings of the Buddha. Each toe contains a carving of a conch shell, used here as a reference to the sound of Buddhist spiritual knowledge echoing throughout the world.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

Buddhapada, footprints of the Buddha, are representations of the Buddha’s earthly and enduring existence, enlightened nature and religious teachings. Originating in India, buddhapada are significant symbolic devices providing an evocative link to both the Buddha’s actual presence on earth and his later detachment from the material world.

This buddhapada is carved with 108 Buddhist symbols. According to some legends, the symbols on stone footprints of the Buddha derive from marks that miraculously appeared when a woman’s tears fell into a set of imprints left in the ground by Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.

Many of the symbols relate to episodes from the previous earthly lives of the Buddha. Others draw on Buddhist concepts of the cosmos, royal insignia, religious paraphernalia and mythical creatures. A number of the symbols, such as those representing rivers, mountains, continents and constellations, can be arranged to form a diagram of the Buddhist universe. At the heel is a lotus-form wheel, or chakra, symbolising the central Buddhist principle of reincarnation and the teachings of the Buddha. Each toe contains a carving of a conch shell, used here as a reference to the sound of Buddhist spiritual knowledge echoing throughout the world.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014