Training to become a docent at the Asian Art Museum has been a real eye opener. The Asian Art Museum's 338 Seated Buddha is secure behind a glass case at the entrance to Gallery 16 - Chinese Buddhist Art. Pleasant and nice, I never gave it much thought.
At the beginning of this fall training session, we were told that this Buddha is the earliest and most important dated Buddha from China and many people come to the museum just to see it. Well! I'll go take another look. It's important because the inscription in Chinese gives it a reliable date of 338.
I was flipping through my new book on Chinese art and I found this image on the right -- almost identical! It is reported to have been found in 1979 near Xi'an, China. It's also inscribed, but this time in the Kharoshthi language and -- no mention of a date. It is dated approximately 300 or 38 years before the one on the left. With no actual dated inscription, I guess it suddenly comes in second. Little things mean a lot.
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