Central Tibet, Amoghasiddhi

13th-14th century, Tibet, buddha Amoghasiddhi, bronze with cold gold and pigments, at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

13th-14th century, Tibet, buddha Amoghasiddhi, bronze with cold gold and pigments, at Minneapolis

This is a mixture of styles which characterises many Tibetan works produced between the 13th and 14th century (or thereabout) and that makes them so unique.

The soft, wide, facial features are proper to Tibet, as is the custom of painting the face with cold gold. The marked navel and abdomen muscles are particular to Kashmir. Similar jewellery and ribbons are often seen on Nepalese Malla sculptures. The absence of gilding, the body proportions, the tall chignon and upward flowing ribbons are reminiscent of earlier Indian Pala works but here the chignon and crown have become exaggerated and the latter needs a thin metal bar at the top to keep the leaves together. The billowing scarf looking like a thin circular halo going from elbow to head  also appeared in Tibet around that time but this one is particularly long and forms a highly original shape, going along the thigh and ending at knee-level.

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