There are considered to be 32 greater and 80 lesser bodily marks or features on the Buddha's body. Some of the 32 major signs can be shared by Bodhisattvas and sometimes by chakravartins (universal kings).According to the Lakkhanssutta of the Pali canon, the 32 major lakshanas are:

01. Well-placed feet [flatfooted]

02. Mark of wheel on soles

03. Soles and palms tender and soft [more so than others]

04. Toes and fingers long

05. Webbed fingers and toes

06. Broad heels

07. Inconspicuous ankle bones

08. Shanks like those of an antelope

09. Body frame well-grown, tall and straight

10. Arms reach to the knees when standing

11. Male organ hidden in a sheath

12. Body hairs separate in pore holes

13. Hairs of the body point upwards

Hairs on the head turn so as to point up

Hairs of head blue-black, soft, curls in rings to the right.

14. Skin smooth and delicate (does not accumulate dirt and moisture)

15. Skin golden

16. Prominences of body seven in number

2 on soles of feet

2 on hands

2 at shoulder blades

1 at base of neck

17. Torso is like a lion

18. Shoulders gently curved

19. Chest wide and well elevated

20. Body circumference like a fig tree, [girth equal to height]

21. Jaws like a lion

22. 40 teeth

23. Teeth have not gaps

24. Teeth are equal in size

25. Very white teeth

26. Taste conductors give him excellent sense of taste

27. Tongue long, can reach his ears

28. Voice like that of Brahma

29. Eyes intensely black

30. Eyelashes like those of a great bull

31. Tuft of hair between his brows (ura)

32. Cowl on his head (unisa)


Although many of thes lakshana cannot be portrayed in artistic representataions there are several marks and standards that have come to characterize a Buddha image. Briefly these are:

The Lakshana

Cakras (02) (wheels -- specifically, the Wheel of Law) soles and palms

His fingers and toes may be webbed, (05)

Perfect proprotions--(09, 17, 18, & 19)

Long arms that reach down to his knees (10) [rarely actually depicted except in China].

His gold-colored skin (15) often seen in paintings by the use of gold pigment

Urna: (31) "wool" a mark or whorl of hair on the forehead or between the eyebrows.

Usnisha (32): a"crown" a bun of hair or sometimes called a "cranial protuberance" [?] which is considered to be a sign of his attainment or Enlightenment.



-- Other auspicious markings may be seen on the palms of his hands and the soles of his upturned feet.

-- Pristine mask-like appearence: The Buddhas are held to be one hundred times more attractive than humans. This has resulted in
portraying Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and others as having mask-like, almost metallic, facial features.

-- There are almost always three rings of flesh around the neck.

-- May have a srivatasa ("glorious calf") sign on chest.

-- Elongated earlobes: these are an indication of the Buddha's existence as a human prince before his renunciation and subseuqent
attainment of enlightenment. As a typical Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama was accostomed to wearing much jewelry, including
heavy earrings which eventually stretched out his earlobes. Although he gave up the wearing of any jewelry upon taking up the life
of a wandering ascetic, the elongated earrobes remain.