Swat Valley, two early bodhisattvas

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Afghanistan, bodhisattva, bronze with silver inlaid eyes, at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (UK).

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Afghanistan, bodhisattva, bronze with silver-inlay, at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (UK).

Very similar to the dyani buddha published in the previous post, this bodhisattva sits in the lotus position on a double-lotus base typical of the area.  His hair is tied in a bunch on top of his head and sideways, he wears a low crown with a large central panel and some  simple jewellery. His ankle-length lower garment is finely pleated. His right hand is held palm out, in the fear-allaying gesture, he holds an object in his left hand.  As there is an effigy of Amitabha in his crown, this object may be the stem of a (now broken) lotus, in which case we would be looking at Avalokiteshvara Padmapani. He has very large silver-inlaid eyes, a thin but broad mouth, and a sharp nose that merges with the eyebrows.

8th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, bodhisattva, dark bronze, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

8th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, bodhisattva, dark bronze, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

This character holds  a begging bowl in his left hand and does the charity gesture with the other.  The position of his hands do not correspond to any buddha  or to well-known bodhisattvas. He wears simple jewellery, a small crown and an elaborate head ornament behind. His semi-closed eyes are inlaid with silver. The mouth is very thin yet the nose is fleshy and prominent.

 

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