Nepal, Late Malla Achala

16th century, Nepal, Achala, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

16th century, Nepal, Achala, gilt copper alloy and stone inlay, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (USA).

This rare Nepalese sculpture of Achala (far more common in Tibet) is a good example of the refined craftsmanship of Newari artists during the Malla period. The deity is half crouching and half kneeling, brandishing his sword and holding his (missing) lasso, clad in a short dhoti incised with a floral motif and held in place with a belt – its pendant ribbon studded with gems. He wears a crown with bows and ribbons, plain armbands and bangles, hoops, beaded anklets, a short necklace with large cabochons typical of the late Malla period, and a celestial scarf with leaves and buds coming out of the extremities.

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