THE reader may recall that in the record of Hoei-shin he speaks particularly of the images of Buddha, in connection with the holy writings and religion of that great reformer, as having been taken to America in the year 458 by his five predecessors. I mention this, that in case any other inquirer may investigate this subject, he may pay particular attention to the discovery of such images, or to possible imitations of them, in America, and among its monuments. For to present the sacred likeness of Buddha to the eyes of the world was held to be of itself almost enough to convert unbelievers. To say that these images were made by millions would be no exaggeration. When, in the year 955, the Emperor She-tsung placed severe restrictions on the Buddhist religion, more than 30,000 temples were destroyed, and a mint was established for the purpose of converting such of the images, &c., as were made of precious metals, copper or bronze, into money. Again, in the persecution of 845, "the copper images and bells were melted down and made into cash." It is
then probable, that wherever anything could be carried these compactly-formed images were taken.
Professor Neumann speaks of Buddhist emissaries having penetrated to Europe. It is not unlikely, and I am reminded of it by the fact that I was very recently shown a Buddhistic image found in digging for the St Pancras Railway above Midland Yard, about the month of December 1872. It was discovered at a depth of fifteen feet, nine feet of which consisted of loose soil or debris of a recent character, but the remaining six feet were hard, solid earth. The character of the latter, and comparisons with similar excavations, judged by the ages of coins found, indicate a probability that the image may have been left where it was discovered 1000 years ago, or more. I regret that it was impossible for me to obtain this relic for some national museum or other institution, and also that it had been broken, by being ignorantly used as a child's toy, though it was quite perfect when first discovered. The man who dug it up spoke of fragments of similar images having been found; but owing to his ignorance, nothing whatever can be inferred as to whether they were Buddhistic or not.
Images resembling the ordinary Buddha have been found in Mexico and Central America, but they cannot be proved to be identical with it. Their attitude is an extremely natural one for any man not encumbered with tight nether garments to assume in a warns climate; indeed, it is the ordinary sitting position of
all men who are not accustomed to chairs. At a grand ball given by the Khedive at Cairo, in 1873, I saw several native gentlemen, after sitting down on chairs, forgetfully draw their feet up under them, and sit in precisely the manner of Buddha.