Pala India, Shakyamuni – three styles

12th century, Northeast India, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie's.

12th century, Northeast India, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

The historical buddha is seated on an embroidered cushion over a lotus supported by an open pedestal with a floral motif and a beaded rim, his thick curls gathered in a chignon topped with a finial inlaid with a (missing) stone, the robe covering one shoulder only, the extremity folded over it like a fishtail, the seams decorated with fine beading, his left hand in the meditation gesture, the other calling Earth to witness. He has sharp facial features and a small round urna incised on his forehead, two incisions to mark the folds on the inner right arm, delicate hands with well-defined fingers and nails.

Same as before, copper alloy with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie's.

Same as before, copper alloy with silver, copper and stone inlay, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

On this example, Shakyamuni is seated on a tall double-lotus base typical of the Pala period, his transparent garment revealing a punched navel above the waistline of his dhoti.

12th-c-india-ne-shakyamuni-c-a-sil-eyesurna-cop-lips-turq-finial-detail-christies

His eyes and urna inlaid with silver, the lips with copper, the finial on his  chignon with turquoise. On both sculptures, the urna between his eyebrows is clearly shaped like a round tuft of hair.

12th century, Eastern India, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with pigment, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

12th century, Eastern India, Shakyamuni, copper alloy with pigment, private collection, published by Rossi & Rossi.

Another style, with silver-inlaid eyes and traces of blue pigment in the hair, the transparent robe with a double seam forming a wavy line across the chest, a very thin waist, long arms and curvy fingers, a vajra sceptre placed before him on the low double-lotus base.

 

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