Swat Valley, two figures with attendants

8th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York (USA).

8th century, Swat Valley, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Rubin Museum of Art, New York (USA).

This remarkably well preserved sculpture depicts the historical buddha seated on a lion throne over a lotus on a plinth, his right hand in the varada mudra, the other holding a piece of his garment (that covers both shoulders and has transversal pleats throughout), accompanied by two attendants. There is a solar disc/flaming halo behind him.

8th-c-swat-valley-shakyamuni-attendant

The attendants wear a short pleated dhoti tied at the front, a celestial scarf and an elaborate headdress with side bows.

8th-c-swat-valley-shakyamuni-lion-throne

This type of lion throne is specific to the Swat Valley and Gilgit areas.

8th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie's.

8th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This fairly similar dark bronze features Avalokiteshvara, who has an effigy of Amitabha in his crown.

8th-c-swat-valley-avalokiteshvara-c-a-212-cm-amitahba-in-crown-nimbus-detail

Instead of a plain disc with flames around it, the inner part is shaped like a sun, each segment being like a petal.

8th-c-swat-valley-avalokiteshvara-c-a-212-cm-amitahba-in-crown-nimbusattendants-lion-throne

Two unusual features are the beaded cloth over the throne, with a roundish shape and quilted texture, and the single lotus base with the petals going upwards rather than downwards.

 

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