Swat Valley, Shakyamuni – seated

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, bronze, found at Helgo, at the Stockholm Museum

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, bronze, found at Helgo, at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm (Sweden).

Seated on a typical Swat Valley pedestal consisting in a lotus with the petals facing downwards, topped with another lotus with the petals facing upwards, and a gap in between, this smiling buddha holds a piece of his robe in his left hand and holds the other in the gesture of supreme generostiy. His garment covers both shoulders and has transversal pleats. He has silver-inlaid eyes, and a large silver-inlaid urna on his forehead.

7th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

7th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On both images the hair curls are flat and the chignon/ushnisha is round.

7th-8th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

7th-8th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (USA).

On this variant, the buddha’s robe covers one shoulder only and he sits on a single lotus pedestal, holding his right hand in the fear-allaying gesture. The overall style is reminiscent of Kashmiri works.

8th century circa, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

8th century circa, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, is or was at the gTsug Lakhang, published by Ulrich von Schroeder.

The pleats on this buddha’s robe are concentric. His face has been painted with cold gold and his hair with lapis lazuli by worshippers in Lhasa.

Labeled 7th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, brass, at a Beijing museum.

7th century (or later copy?), Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, brass, at a Beijing museum.

The facial features on this almost identical sculpture correspond to Central Asia or China. On 7th century Swat Valley sculptures, the lotus pedestal is usually taller and narrower, so the dating may be wrong. Also, the pleating of his garment looks newer. Perhaps it is a copy of the former. It is not unusual for an image to be copied again and again throughout the centuries.

 

 

 

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