Tibet, Shakyamuni standing (2)

Undated, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper or copper alloy with traces of gilding, pigment, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi.

Undated, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper or copper alloy with traces of gilding, pigment, at the Tibet House Museum in New Delhi, on Himalayan Art Resources.

Inspired by Nepalese works, this Tibetan buddha, with a large head, broad shoulders and a square face, is standing with his right hand in the varada mudra (we can see a wheel of dharma in his palm) and holds the edge of his robe in his other hand. The robe covers both shoulders and forms a stiff shape at the back with a thick pleated hem. The thickness and rigidity of the legs contrast with the beautifully finished feet and right hand.

12th-13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni,

12th-13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with cold gold and pigment, is or was at a Tibetan monastery, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

This is an Indian-style buddha, with a smaller head, different facial features and a more elongated body. His transparent robe, with a thick hem across the chest, covers only one shoulder. The rounded ends of the pleats and the loops over the legs and shins give the draping an extraordinary fluidity. Instead of a straight line (or no line at all), the marking on the abdomen which coincides with the top of his dhoti is curved and joins at the navel. This design is recurrent on 13th century Tibetan sculptures of Shakyamuni (see next picture). His delicate right arm is secured by a kind of tenon between the wrist and the hip.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

13th century, Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Rossi & Rossi.

This singular sculpture of the historical buddha places an emphasis on his  human nature through well marked nipples, pectorals, abdomen and knee caps, but at the same time the rigidity of the trunk, the gap between the thighs and the various incisions give him a doll-like aspect. In turn, this contrasts with the graceful arms and hands and the rounded lower hem and wavy folds of the delicate see-through garment. His facial features, with  wide almond-shaped eyes and curved eyebrows that seem to occupy most of his oval face, are reminiscent of the Nepalese Thakuri period.

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