Ushnisha – Crown of the Buddha

One of the key features that can be found in most of the Burmese Buddha statues is Ushnisha. In general, Ushnisha is a three dimensional oval shaped that can be found on the top of the Buddha and Buddha statues. One of the misunderstandings between Ushnisha and topknot of young prince is that Ushnisha symbolizes Lord buddha attainment of reliance in spiritual level whereas topknot symbolizes the royal family culture. The topknot was cut off by Prince Siddhartha before leaving the royal palace to become ascetic.

During early Buddhist culture, Ushnisha was used in order to represent the crown on the top of the head of Lord Buddha. Ushnisha can be considered as an important features in most of the Buddha statues, Buddha images, and Buddha sculptures. But the exact proof has yet to be proved about the existence of Ushnisha during the lifetime of Lord Buddha as well as whether Lord Buddha had actually Ushnisha on the top of his head or not. There are many theories about the hair of Buddha saying that Lord Buddha had shaved heads whereas some other theories said that Lord Buddha had curly hairs.

Use of Ushnisha in Buddha Statues

The Ushnisha was first depicted in Buddha statues around 1st century CE in the Greco Buddhist Art that had huge influence in Gandhara art. That’s was the first when ushnisha became the iconography of Gandhara Buddhist Art and portrayed Ushnisha as the crown of Gautama Buddha. During those Gandhara Buddhist periods, Ushnisha in Lord Head was depicted as the gathering of wavy and huge hair and changing in to chignon.

The appearance of Ushnisha in the Buddha statues can be differed according to different Buddhist tradition. In late time, South Asian countries introduce a new type of depiction on Buddha Ushnisha. The ushnisha depicted in Buddha images in South Asian countries were given more schematic appearance and instead of chignon, these countries also introduce flame or lotus flower. That’s why Ushnisha have been around for many years and had a evolving presence in the Buddhist art of Buddha statues, Buddha images, and other Buddhist sculptures.


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