Buddhists often commission images to earn spiritual merit. They then dedicate this good karma to their loved ones, benefiting them in this life and the next. An inscription etched on the base of this sculpture records that it was commissioned in 609 by “the devoted religious daughter Zhang Pengle” for her father and mother. To honor her parents, the donor selected a scene from the Lotus Sutra, a scripture widely known among Chinese Buddhists at the time.

Two buddhas seated side by side
China, Sui dynasty, 609
Gilt bronze
Purchase—Charles Lang Freer Endowment; Freer Gallery of Art F1945.30a–b