Four-Armed Buddha

Forewarned is forearmed, but this one is four-armed.


This image was created for the Four Arms contest, which was intended to showcase Paul Lessard's Four Arms geo-graft product for DAZ's Genesis figures.

My entry was partly inspired by my memory of Sanjūsangen-dō temple in Kyoto, with its great hall containing 1001 statues of the 1000-Armed Kannon. Strictly, each Kannon figure only has ten arms, but Buddhists believe that every arm can bring salvation to 100 worlds, so the statues are said to be thousand-armed.

The current state of the art in Genesis doesn't support ten arms (let alone a thousand), but I decided to make my own multi-armed statue anyway. Instead of the bodhisattva Kannon, I modeled my statue loosely after Gautama Buddha, who is not typically depicted with multiple arms. The figure was also loosely inspired by the (two-armed) great Buddha at Kamakura. Because one of the possible themes for the contest was "Four arms, a blessing", my Buddha has one arm raised in a gesture of benediction. I wasn't able to pose his fingers exactly as they should be for this; I also didn't manage to lengthen his earlobes appropriately, so he's not really a textbook Buddha (even if you ignore the excess arms). Still, he should be recognizable.

His lotus seat was modeled in Carrara, using a single approximate petal shape created in the spline editor and then duplicated, grouped, and rotated. Carrara does something strange with normals when duplicating, so when I first tried to render the scene in Reality, many of the petals appeared completely black. I was able to get around this by rotating the seat in DAZ Studio so that the black petals (with the bad normals) were hidden behind the figure.

The two columns were also modeled in Carrara and imported into DAZ Studio. The figure in the foreground, providing scale, is another Genesis figure. Some postwork was necessary to hide seams where the Four Arms torso didn't exactly match with the main Genesis body.

The image has its flaws, but to my eye it captured one paradoxical feature that had struck me about Japanese Zen Buddhist temples: the way that a temple can be full of golden objects, and yet appear very simple and even austere. This seems to be a product of the simple geometric shapes of the architecture, the restricted color palette in use and, above all, the exquisite sense of proportion characteristic of the temples. Muted reds, as in this picture, are a typical choice for the columns and other features.


15 Apr 2012


DAZ|Studio 4
Reality 2.1.1
LuxRender 0.9
Carrara 8.5 Pro