Any medium of art can have ether a literal or a symbolic function; iconography is the study of both. In statues of Siddhartha Gautama is a correspondence between parts of the body and the items surrounding the Buddha to a deeper meaning that the artist is aware of, and intend the devotee to understand. Once these aspects of Buddhist art are elucidated, additional insight into the adoration and following of the way of Buddha can be more readily practiced.
This paper will examine the visual themes in Asian statues of the Buddha, including the head and parts of the head, which are created to have specific intention, the hands in their mudras that have definite spiritual symbolism, and the legs of the Buddha, which are indicative of a spiritual reminder. The accouterments that surround the Buddha are also significant to understanding the principles and guidelines of Buddhism.