One of the most common images in antique Asian statuary is the Buddha. With his serene face and relaxed yogic poses, a Buddha statue is intended to bring calmness and peace to everyone who encounters it.

Like most Buddhist art, such religious statues are designed to remind Buddha's followers of eternal truths. For example, the earliest images of Buddha showed him with a pair of Bodhisattvas, enlightened beings who became popular sculptural figures in their own right. These virtuous, generous souls, having stored up a tremendous amount of karma, are on their paths to being Buddhas.

Ancient Buddha statues often show him supported by lions. Buddhist mythology also tells of lions, thought to have magical powers of protection, which is why lion statues can often be found guarding temples. Since the ancient Chinese had never seen a real lion, it is believed they modeled their guardian lion statues after native dogs, such the Chow Chow. Commonly placed outside offices, temples, and businesses, these sculptures came to be known as Foo Dogs, or Fu Dogs.

Another popular motif is the Chinese ruyi, an abstract object, rumored to be an early back-scratcher, with a cloud-like head and S-shaped tail. The ruyi, elaborately carved and often made of expensive materials such as jade, is thought to bring power, leadership, and wealth.

For thousands of years, Chinese artisans have been carving jade, a precious stone believed to link the physical and spiritual realms. Jade has been turned into every object under the sun, including legendary figures, flora, fauna, landscapes, celestial bodies, mythological creatures, religious icons, and symbols of good fortune. The Japanese, meanwhile, became known for the skills in metal, which they routinely applied to statues.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Important Chinese Imperial Xuande Signed Ming Dynasty Gilt Bronze Buddha FigureImpressive Large Chinese Lacquered Bronze Buddha Figure Ming To Qing DynastyEarly Ancient Authentic Thailand Small Bronze Buddha Head, No Reserve!Early Antique Tibetian Bronze Statue Palden Lhomo Dharmapala, NrVery Rare 18/19thc Chinese Aubergine Glazed Figural Handle Lidded Hu Vases JarsImpressive Chinese 15/16thc Ming Dynasty Immortal Warrior Emperor FigureAntique Netsuke Of Seated Figure Carved Bovine Bone Japan / Early Edo - 18th C.A Rare Inscribed Chinese Bronze Figure Of A Seated Deity, Ming DynastyImportant 10thc Chinese Cambodian Sandstone Buddha Diety Torso FigureFine & Rare Chinese Ming Dynasty Bronze Guanyin With Buddhist Elephant FigurePair Fine 19thc Chinese Blue White Imperial Figures Moon Flask Vases Kangxi Mk A Superb Chinese Bronze Figure Of A Seated Bodhisattva, Ming DynastyAntique Chinese Porcelain Laughing Buddha,markedVery Rare Chinese Early Ming Dynasty Guanyin Sitting On Buddhist Lion FigureAntique Japanese Carved Bovine Bone Netsuke Figures On mask Unusual Edo 18th C.Pair Chinese Republic Porcelain Mirror Vases, Figures, Calligraphy Qianlong Mark G132: Chinese Iron Incense Burner Of Popular Foo Dog Statue With Name Of An EraFine Chinese Carved Spinach Jade Pierced Dragon Figural Wall Plaque Silver FrameEstate Lot Antique Chinese Agate Hardstone Carved Wood Objects Guanyin PorcelainEstate Lot Chinese Bronze Buddha Tibetan Bell Mirrors Censer Buffalo FiguresEstate Lot Chinese Jade Agate Green Fluorite Stone Buddha Bird Wine Set BowlsA Beautiful Antique Chinese Export Silver Enamel Deer Statue Jade Relic RepublicOriental Jade Statue On A Pierced Wooden Stand L@@kAntique 17thc Burmese Carved & Lacquer Wood Seated Buddha StatueJapanese Meiji Carved Miniature Cat & Mouse Figural Group SignedVery Fine Pair 19thc Chinese Famille Verte Enamel Figural Scenic Plates KangxiA Wonderful 19c Carved Netsuke Figurine Of Goddess Quan Yin.Chinese Seed Pit Jade Jadeite Agate Carved Prayer Buddha Rosary Bead BraceletLarge 18/19thc Chinese Tibetan Indian Bronze Sitting Buddha FigureEarly Chinese Or Tibetan Bronze Sitting Meditating Buddha Figure Ming Dynasty19th C. Chinese Silk Figural Skirt With Fine Needlework GroundChinese Canton Famille Rose Enamel Figural Porcelain Pair Vases 19th Century Estate Lot 3 Great Chinese Carved Hardwood Immortal Scholar Lohan FiguresVery Fine Chinese Ming Dynasty Bronze Immortal Scholar Figure Wave Base19c Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Guanyin Quan Guan Kwan Yin Buddha 徐吉生造 37cmGreat Large 19thc Chinese Famille Rose Imperial Emperor Scholar Figure Signed19c Chinese Blanc De Chine Dehua Dehwa Porcelain Guanyin Quan Kwan Yin BuddhaFine 19th Century Antique Burmese Buddha On Carved Wooden StandLarge Antique Old Chinese Tibet Bronze Tibetan Buddha Sakyamuni Statue Qing Dy.Canton Carved Stag Antler Okimono Panel Guanyin ? & Metal Rabbit Okimono C19thJapanese Antique C1600 Edo Signed Buddhist Amida Nyorai Standing Buddha Statue Estate Lot Japanese Bronze Buddha Cranes Imari Satsuma Bowls Vases Dishes Large Antique Old Chinese Nephrite Spinach Green Jade Brush Pot Statue BirdsVery Fine Old Japanese Chinese Netski Animal Figure - Signed - Very Rare - L@@k19th C Pink Chinese Robe W Hand Embroidered Figural TrimGreat Large 19thc Chinese Famille Rose Lohan Immortal Scholar FigureAntique Chinese White Shoushan Stone Hand Carved Taibai Drunk Figure18th/19th C. Chinese A Junyao Figure Of QilinBeautiful Antique Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Figure Of Kwanyin W MarkingFine Antique Japanese Meiji Period Carved Netsuke Mouse Figure SignedAmazing Chinese Fan Figures Mother-of-pearl 19th CenturyChinese Famille Rose Porcelain Guanyin Guan Quan Kwan Yin Buddha Figure 鄷祥順造Old Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Nude Lady & Dog Figure Figurine Mk Not BuddhaAntique Chinese Silk Forbidden Stitch Embroidery Figural Butterfly Cloud Collar Antique Chinese Gold Lacquer Sticks Hand Painted Figural Scene 100 Faces FanJapanese Meiji Carved Netsuke Cats Playing Figural Group SignedGreat 19c Chinese Famille Verte Enamel Figural Puzzle Wine Ewer Teapot Kangxi MkA 19th C Japanese Carved Netsuke Figure Of A Seated Monk. KŪkai. Early Chinese Ming Dynasty Gold Gilt Bronze Immortal Scholar Star God FigureAntique Vintage Chinese Hand Carved Gold Gilt Painted Wood Buddha Statue Figure