Nepal, Shakyamuni – various styles

15th-16th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

15th-16th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, private collection, photo by Koller.

The tall pedestal with two rows of broad petals on which the historical buddha  is seated is often seen on late 15th and 16th century gilt copper alloy works made by Nepalese artists.

Same as before, photo by Christie's.

Same as before, photo by Christie’s.

This one, quite different, is a Yongle-style pedestal, which became very popular in Nepal and Tibet during the 15th century. The buddha has no piece of cloth resting over his left shoulder, something quite unusual. He wears a long dhoti  loosely draped over his ankles, the folds neatly gathered into thick pleats.

16th-17th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, terracotta, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

16th-17th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, terracotta, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA).

Like the first figure, this one has a round chignon topped with a large knop. The outer garment covers both shoulders and has one end artistically arranged at the front. The style of the single lotus base is typical of Nepal and often seen on wooden sculptures from the Malla period. The edge of the backplate is decorated with a scrolled vegetation pattern.

17th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with cold gold, at the Honolulu Museum of Art.

17th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with  traces of cold gold, at the Honolulu Museum of Art (USA).

This later sculpture displays archaic traits, such as the use of un-gilt copper alloy and the Indian-style gaze and beaked nose, but the plump toes and the coarse piping on the border of the sanghati situate it in the late Malla period, and the disproportion between the large head and the thin elongated torso points to the 17th century. The folds of the garment are arranged in an elegant scallop shape under his ankles. There is a small vajra in front of him.

18th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum (UK).

18th century, Nepal, Shakyamuni, gilt copper alloy, at the British Museum (UK).

An inscription on the base tells us that this sculpture was made in 1748. The buddha is seated on a single lotus base over a throne supported by peacocks and holds both hands in the meditation gesture to support a begging bowl (this iconography is also associated with Amitabha). There is a parasol with ribbons on top of the backplate.

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