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A bronze figure of Buddha
A bronze figure of Buddha


A bronze figure of Buddha
Sri Lanka, Polonnaruva period, 12th century
Seated in dhyanasana over a squat double-lotus base, clad in a diaphanous sanghati draped over the shoulder, the face with long nose and heavy-lidded eyes, the hair pulled over the ushnisha in the form of a flaming finial
4½ in. (11.5 cm.) high
Doris Wiener Gallery, New York, 1983
Frank Caro, (C.T. Loo), New York, 1989

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Lot Essay

The simple and pure styling of this Buddha figure can be traced to the politico-religious upheavals in Sri Lanka in the 10th and 11th centuries, when the Chola Empire under King Rajaraja invaded and conquered the northern portion of the island. Buddhism was nearly wiped out during this period of occupation, as the Cholas as a rule only supported the Brahmanical temples, and in some cases, destroyed Buddhist monasteries. When the Sinhalese finally won back control of Sri Lanka in the late 11th century, they sent for Theravedic Buddhist monks from Burma to help reestablish the religion on the island, and the conservative styling of their religious sculpture, as seen here, changed little over the subsequent centuries. For further discussion of the religious history of the period, see U. von Schroeder, Buddhist Sculptures of Sri Lanka, 1990, p. 361. For further discussion of the stylistic conservatism, see P. Pal, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, vol. III, 2004, cat. nos. 44-47, ps. 56-57.

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