Swat Valley, various bodhisattvas

10th century, Swat Valley, Manjushri, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby's.

10th century, Swat Valley, Manjushri, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Sotheby’s.

This rare sculpture depicts Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom, holding in his left hand the stem of a lotus that supports a manuscript. His right hand does the gesture of supreme generosity. He wears a long dhoti held in place with a coarse belt – unusual for the area – and a thin celestial scarf. His jewellery includes a beaded necklace with his habitual three-tooth pendant. There is a flaming halo behind his head with a sun at the centre made form his hair, according to Sothby’s. His wide-open almond eyes are inlaid with silver.

9th-11th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Manjushri?, San Francisco.

9th-10th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, possibly Manjushri, bronze with silver inlay, at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum (USA).

Seated with a leg pendant, this bodhisattva holds a roundish object in his left hand, possibly a gourd or a vessel. Both Avalokiteshvara and Maitreya (in his bodhisattva appearance) may hold a pot of water but in the Swat Valley area they hold it in a different manner.

9th-11th-c-pakistan-manjushri-back

This hairstyle points to Manjushri, who normally holds a manuscript.

Undated, Swat Valley, Maitreya, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Swat Valley, Maitreya, copper alloy, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Seated in the vajra position, on a cushion over an unusual pedestal, Maitreya holds a pot of water in his left hand and raises his right hand in the fear-allaying gesture. He wears a crown with rosettes, a necklace and armbands. His hair is braided into two long tresses that fall over his shoulders.

undated-swat-valley-maitreya-labelled-india-bronze-back

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