Space Buddha

As you may remember, the story of a Tibetan Buddhist statue carved out of a meteorite and found in Germany with connections to the Nazis made the rounds of Buddhist and mainstream media a month or so ago. And really, that’s not surprising. Nazis, Tibet, statues made from space rocks. It has all the makings of a great TV movie.

Via the Buddhist scholars network H-Buddhism, however, I found an article by a Tibetologist who makes a convincing argument that the statue is not, in fact, Tibetan but is likely an imitation. (Here’s a direct link to the PDF of the article.) The original scholarly article that brought this story to life was written by mineralogists and planetologist who explicitly asked for folks from other fields to weigh in on “cultural matters” related to the statue. Achim Bayer, in his article, has done so. In sum, he argues that the iconography of the statue is inconsistent with what one would expect of a statue made a thousand years ago in central Asia. Instead, he believes it was likely made in the twentieth century in Germany.