You are here:

The Paranirvana of Buddha, Gal Vihara, Polonnaruva, Ceylon

The Paranirvana of Buddha, Gal Vihara, Polonnaruva, Ceylon

1870-1871

Joseph Lawton

(British, d. 1874)

Albumen print

Image: 21.4 x 28.2 cm (8 7/16 x 11 1/8 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

Gift of Louise S. Richards 1976.156

Description

The Buddha's death is called the parinirvana, which signals the moment when he moves into an eternal blissful state, free of any suffering or future rebirths. This state, known as nirvana, is the ultimate goal for followers of Buddhism.

During the 8th century, a colossal depiction of the Buddha's parinirvana was the focus of worship at a monastic establishment on the island of Sri Lanka off the southeastern coast of India. By the 19th century, the site had fallen into ruins, and commercial photographer Joseph Lawton was selected by the British Archaeological Committee in Kandy, Sri Lanka, to document the site. Lawton's intentional inclusion of a Sri Lankan figure in a posture of adoration and a colonial Englishman clambering over the ruins provides a sense of the sculpture's impressive scale.

See also
Department: 
Photography
Type of artwork: 
Photograph
Medium: 
Albumen print

Contact us

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar.