India, the Gupta period (2)

5th-6th century, India, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

5th-6th century, India, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (UK).

This rare and archaic sculpture depicts Shakyamuni holding the hem of his transparent garment (covering one shoulder only) with his left hand and doing the vitarka mudra with the other, his head adorned with a tiara including a very large flower at the centre. He wears a long dhoti held in place with a belt, the hem showing below the robe.

6th century, India, Uttar Pradesh, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

6th century, India, Uttar Pradesh, copper alloy, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (USA).

On this elegant and standard Gupta-sculpture, Shakyamuni does the fear-allaying gesture with his right hand. He wears a transparent robe that covers both shoulders, marked with concentric V-shaped folds. He has a delicate face with semi-closed eyes, an oval chin, thick hair curls culminating in a small conical ushnisha, carefully finished hands and feet.

Late 6th century, India, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Asia Society Museum (USA).

Late 6th century, India, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Asia Society Museum (USA).

The body is usually athletic, with an emphasis on the hips and legs.

6th century, India, Gupta period, Sarnath style, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

6th century, India, Gupta period, Sarnath style, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Cleveland Museum of Art (USA).

A transparent robe without folds is associated with the Sarnath style from Uttar Pradesh. The above stands on a lotus over a plain plinth.

5th century, India, Uttar Pradesh, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Nelson Atkins Museum (USA).

5th century, India, Uttar Pradesh, Shakyamuni, bronze, at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City (USA).

We rarely get a chance to see what the halo looked like. The solar design on this one was often used on Gandharan mandorlas during the 6th and 7th centuries. The plinth on which the buddha stands is supported by claw feet.

 

 

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