Pala India, a few stone buddhas

10th century circa, Northeast India, tathagata buddha, stone, private collection, photo by Christie's.

10th century circa, Northeast India, labelled tathagata buddha, stone, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

This unusual stele depicts a crowned buddha flanked by a miniature Shakyamuni.

10th-c-cir-ne-india-stone-tathagata-with-buddha-flaming-border-with-inscr-457-cm-miniature-buddha-christies

If the main character is one of the five tathagata (or dhyani) buddhas, the right hand held in the gesture of supreme generosity corresponds to Ratnasambhava, whose standing form is extremely rare and who normally displays a jewel in the palm of his hand.

10th-c-cir-ne-india-stone-tathagata-with-buddha-flaming-border-with-inscr-457-cm-close-christies

However,  his left hand would be displaying the meditation gesture yet he holds a piece of his robe, a gesture associated with Shakyamuni when standing.

11th century, India, labelled Amitayus, black stone, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

11th century, India, labelled Amitayus, black stone, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

Amitabha is seated in the vajra position, holding a bowl (Amitayus holds a vase of longevity) in his hand gathered in the gesture of meditation, adorned with a tall foliate crown, a necklace and earrings, his transparent robe covering both shoulders. There is a stupa on each side of his head.

12th century circa, India, Shakyamuni, stone, private collection, published by Sotheby's.

12th century circa, India, Shakyamuni, stone, private collection, published by Sotheby’s.

Also framed by stupas, the historical buddha is calling Earth to witness with his right hand while the other is in the meditation gesture. He wears a long dhoti and a robe that covers one shoulder only. This buddha has a broad head and thick limbs that depart from the Pala standards.

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Skakyamuni, stone, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

11th-12th century, Northeast India, Skakyamuni, stone, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (UK).

This Pala-style sculpture depicts him on a throne supported by lions and elephants, with a goddess at the centre, kneeling figures in the corner (probably the donors) and a thunderbolt above, the backrest of the throne decorated with makara finials. He is accompanied by bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara standing near him, Vajrapani and Manjushri seated above, and celestial dancers.

 

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