Nepal, Thakuri period – Amitayus

10th-11th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

10th-11th century, Nepal, Amitayus, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

When dealing with sculptures, it is generally accepted that the buddha who holds both hands in the dhyana mudra to support a long-life vase (often missing) and has a bodhisattva appearance is Amitayus and that when he has a buddha appearance and holds a bowl it is Amitabha – two aspects of the same deity (with a different body colour on paintings). The above wears a Thakuri-style tripartite crown, with side bows and long ribbons flowing downwards, a sash tightly drawn across his chest and a dhoti, both decorated with an incised motif. The pointed end of the lower garment is gathered under his ankle. He sits on a cushion over a throne supported by lions, with an oval aperture in-between. He has long arms and delicate feet with fleshy toes and an hour-glass trunk. His chignon is adorned with a leaf-shaped panel and topped with a finial.

11th century, Nepal, labelled Amitabha, copper alloy, same as before.

11th century, Nepal, labelled Amitabha, copper alloy, same as before.

This is a similar image with broader shoulders and a slightly different throne.

11th-12th century, Nepal, labelled Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

11th-12th century, Nepal, labelled Amitabha, gilt copper alloy, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

This Amitayus wears a mitre-like crown and sits on a low double-lotus base with wide petals. The lavish gilding is partly worn after centuries of devotion.

11th-12th c., Nepal, Amitabha, gilt c.a., 23,5 cm, back

Like most deities with a bodhisattva appearance made in Nepal or Tibet, his hair is piled into a chignon except for a few loose strands on each side. One extremity of the sash often shows at the back, over the left shoulder.

11th-12th century, Nepal, Amitayus, copper, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

11th-12th century, Nepal, Amitayus, copper, at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (USA).

On this work, it shows at the front and the other extremity drops loosely behind his arm.The absence of a crown reveals a very ornate leaf-shaped panel.

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