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A Rare and Important Gilt Bronze Figure of Buddha Shakyamuni
A Rare and Important Gilt Bronze Figure of Buddha Shakyamuni


A Rare and Important Gilt Bronze Figure of Buddha Shakyamuni China, circa 11th Century Seated in dhyanasana with his right hand in abhaya mudra, wearing a voluminous robe with folds cascading down from his shoulder and around the knees, an elaborate armlet with pendent jewels encircling his right upper arm, his face with a benign expression with almond-shaped eyes beneath gently arched brows, his hair arranged in intricately matted strands and spiral chignon, the interior cast with a tri-lingual inscription in Chinese, Sanskrit and Tibetan on a rectangular reserve stating in Chinese that it was commissioned by the Buddhist monk Guangming, and with Dharani mantras in Siddham Sanskrit, richly gilt overall 8¼ in. (20.8 cm.) high
Pan-Asian Collection

Lot Essay

It is very rare to find an inscribed bronze of this type with a multi-lingual inscription. The present example has a number of distinctive features, such as the undulating folds of the garment at the chest, the cascading 'articulated' folds at the knee, the ornate jeweled armlet, and the hairstyle with spiral chignon and matted strands.
Compare a closely related Liao dynasty example at The Cleveland Museum of Art, illustrated in Fojiao Diaosu Mingping Tulu (An Illustrated Collection of Famous Buddhist Sculptures), Beijing, 1995, p. 147 no. 139, dated to 937-1094 and ascribed to the kingdom of Dali, and a larger gold lacquered example sold at Christie's New York, 20 March 1997, lot 359, dated to the reign of King Duan Zhengxing (1147-72) of the Kingdom of Houli (Dali) in present-day Yunnan province. Stylistic relationships with the latter, in particular relating to the robe and armlet, might suggest an attribution of the present example to the same region. At that time, Yunnan culture was much influenced by Pala and Srivijaya styles transmitted via Indonesia and Northern Thailand and the multi-lingual inscription is indicative of a remarkable fusion of influences and styles at a Buddhist crossroads.


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