The Buddha sculptures and figurines we see all over us are the sculptures of Shakyamuni Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha who was raised as the son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya Devi in Kapilavastu, a former province of Nepal. The Queen had few auspicious visions until the Lord from Tushita heaven reached her womb. Check out here for more info
When Prince Siddhartha Gautama crossed the age of 28 he renounced the monarchy and led a mendicant ‘s life. In six years under a pipala tree he found and achieved enlightenment and became a Buddha, in Bodhgaya. Upon enlightenment he spoke this stanza: “The founder of the house of pain is gone by several births I have experienced and I am safe from any further births”
Throughout his tenure, Shakyamuni Buddha taught dharma and the light of the earth had gone out and the Lord moved into Nirvana at the age of over 80.
Talking of Buddha statues & figurines, Buddha statues are seen in a large range of poses, the most popular of all form is the statue of the sitting Buddha in a lotus posture. The posture displays a balance and tranquility within and out. In meditating on Buddha statues the posture of the hand or the mudra has the fingers of the right hand resting slightly on the left as they lay in the illuminated one ‘s lap and legs are crossed in a Lotus position. Many statues of Buddha sit on a pedestal in a blossom of lotus that represents the enlightened being or emptiness.
Another posture is the Abhaya mudra which raises the right hand and is the gesture of dispelling fear. Statues calling upon the world to bear witness are depicted by postures where the right hand reaches the ground below, indicating complete faith. Then, ultimately, the reclining Buddha statue represents the descent of Buddha into death or Paradise, as the priests, angles and gods bid farewell to Shakyamuni Buddha never to return. Medicine Buddha statue symbolizes the belief that Buddha, along with spiritual guidance, shared knowledge on medicine.
The Mudras or postures of the Shakyamuni Buddha figures are either in Abhaya (Fearlessness), Dhyana (Meditation), Dharmachakra Parivartana (Dharma wheel turning or doctrine or religion) and Bhumisparsa (calling the Earth Goddess to witness the touching of the Earth by the right hand)
Buddha statues are made by hand and are therefore the labor of love by artisans, or a loving heart and moving hands that give them shapes in certain postures. Buddha ‘s earliest depictions were mounds erected on Buddha’s relics also known as “Stupa.” The exterior decorations on the stupas display the Buddha’s entire life from leaving home to enlightenment through to Mahaparinirvana.