Badulla Preaching Buddha Statue (Colombo Museum)

The Badulla Preaching Buddha Statue is currently on display in the Colombo National Museum. It is considered a rare piece of work found in Sri Lanka.
Badulla Preaching Buddha Statue

The Badulla Preaching Buddha Statue (Sinhala: බදුල්ල දහම් දෙසන බුදුරුව) is a bronze Buddha statue discovered from somewhere in Badulla, Sri Lanka. It is currently on display in the Anuradhapura Gallery of Colombo National Museum. This statue is regarded as a rare specimen of ancient Sri Lankan sculptural art. However, some consider this statue as a product of South-East Asia (Chutiwongs et al., 2007).

This hollow cast bronze statue of Buddha is 54.5 cm in height and was presented to the museum by G. F. K. Horsfall (Coomaraswamy, 1914).

The Statue

Badulla Preaching Buddha Statue, Colombo National Museum

The Buddha statue cast in cire-perdue is of thin texture and is damaged to some extent at the belly (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). Seated in Virasana posture, the image shows an attitude of preaching/teaching Dhamma (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The slightly raised right hand depicts the Vitarka Mudra [(argumentation gesture) Chutiwongs et al., 2007; Wikramagamage, 1990]. While holding the gathered pleats of the robe, the left hand is in the pose of Katakahastha (Chutiwongs et al., 2007; Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018). Apparently, the two hands were cast separately and fixed to the shoulders (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The robe is transparent and attached to the body by raised ridges. The folds of the robe are clear and distinct. The robe covers the left shoulder while leaving the right shoulder bare. The head is covered with snail-shell-like curled hairlocks and the Usnisha is fairly shown (Chutiwongs et al., 2007). The perforation on the head may be used to attach the Siraspatha [(the flame of knowledge) Wikramagamage, 1990]. The upright torso and the wide open eyes indicate Buddha's alertness while preaching.

Scholars have determined that this statue dates back to around the 6th century A.D. (Chutiwongs et al., 2007; Coomaraswamy, 1914; Prematilaka & Hewage, 2018; Rambukwella, 2014)


1) Chutiwongs, N.; Prematilleke, L.; Silva, R., 2007. Sri Lanka Murthi: Buddha (Sri Lanka Sculpture: Buddha). Central Cultural Fund. Ministry of Cultural Affairs. pp.80-81.
2) Coomaraswamy, A., 1914. Bronzes from Ceylon, chiefly in the Colombo Museum. Series A. No. 1. Memoirs of the Colombo Museum/Ed. J. Pearson. Colombo: Horace Hart, Colombo. p.20.
3)  Prematilaka, L., Hewage, R., 2018. A guide to the National Museum, Colombo: Department of National Museum. ISBN: 978-955-578-035-3. p.15.
4) Rambukwella, M.W.C.N.K., 2014. Heritage representation in culturally diverse societies: a case study of the Colombo National Museum in Sri Lanka (Doctoral dissertation, School of Museum Studies). p.330.
5) Wikramagamage, C., 1990. [Wijesekara, N. (Editor in chief)] Section II: 500-100 A.D. Archaeological Department Centenary (1890-1990): Commemorative Series: Vol. IV: Sculpture. p.51.

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This page was last updated on 12 February 2024

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