Swat Valley, various bodhisattvas (3)

Undated, Swat Valley, Maitreya, bronze, at the Saidu Shari Museum.

Maitreya in his bodhisattva appearance, his right hand doing a fear-allaying gesture, the other holding a pot of water over his left knee, has an elegant silhouette with an elongated torso and long limbs. He is seated with one leg pendant, which is unusual for him.

Undated, Swat Valley style, (probably Maitreya), private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This bodhisattva wears the same jewellery as a Swat Valley Avalokiteshvara at the Fondation Alain Bordier dated 7th century, also made of brass with silver-inlaid eyes and copper-inlaid lips, but the shape of his crown is different and unusual for the area. Another singular feature is the water pot with a spout, often seen on Tibetan sculptures.

Undated, Swat Valley style, bodhisattva, bronze, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This figure, possibly Vajrapani,  holds a large vajra in his left hand and does the gesture of generosity with the right hand. He is seated on a lotus base with broad flat petals unusual for the area but we saw one Swat Valley Avalokiteshvara dated 7th-8th century seated on just the same type of base.

He has Central Asian facial features, a large effigy of Amitabha in his headdress, concentric rows of curls and long strands of hair ending in large curls over his shoulders, reminiscent of a dark bronze Avalokiteshvara published in a previous post (see below).

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, private collection, Christie’s.

 

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Swat Valley, two female deities (2)

Undated, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Tara, bronze, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Green Tara holds a tulip-shaped lotus in her left hand and displays the gesture of generosity with the other. She wears a tight-fitting tunic that leaves part of her breasts uncovered, revealing copper-inlaid nipples. She is adorned with bulky jewellery including several necklaces and anklets, and wears a singular hair ornament.

A halo with a star/solar symbol is fastened to her back.

7th-8th century, Swat Valley, Uddiyana, goddess, brass, is or was at the Lima Lakhang in Lhasa, photo by Ulrich von Schroeder.

Unlike the rest of Swat Valley metal sculptures, those attributed to the Uddiyana area are often made of brass.  This three-eye and six-arm deity with various attributes still in her hands is seated on a lotus base on a two-tier rocky formation decorated with four figures playing an instrument.

She is adorned with floral necklaces, matching armbands, bangles and earrings (one of them a hoop). There is an effigy of a buddha in her headdress. Her chest is bare and displays copper-inlaid nipples, she has a tiny waist and a large punched navel. Her pleated lower garment is knotted at the front.

 

Swat Valley, buddha on lion throne (3)

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Pakistan, Shakyamuni, bronze with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Gandhara Gallery, published on http://www.asianart.com.

A dark bronze depicting the historical buddha with a piece of his robe in his left hand, his right hand displaying generosity, seated on a throne covered with a tasseled cloth and supported by two lions with silver-inlaid eyes. The buddha himself has silver-inlaid eyes and urna.

Undated, Swat Valley, Maitreya, bronze, no photo credits given, published on google.com.tw.

Seated on a lion throne, with both legs pendant, his hands ‘turning the wheel of dharma‘, a flaming hair ornament behind his chignon, this buddha may be Maitreya, normally identified by the stupa at the top of the  halo, or Shakyamuni, who holds a piece of his robe in his left hand. In the Swat Valley area, Maitreya usually has a bodhisattva appearance and holds a pot of water, but Shakyamuni normally sits in the vajra position. The backplate with a standing attendant on each side is a feature we have seen on various Swat Valley works dated 8th century.

Undated, Swat Valley style, Shakyamuni, metal, at the Palace Museum in Beijing, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Undated, Swat Valley style, Shakyamuni, same as before.

Swat Valley, seated Avalokiteshvara (7)

7th-8th century, Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver inlay, at the National Museum of Karachi (Pakistan), published on http://www.huntingtonarchive.org.

The bodhisattva of compassion is seated in the vajra position on a lotus base typical of the area, holding a long-stemmed flower, adorned with floral earrings, matching armbands, plain bracelets (no signs of a necklace having been there), wearing a long and finely pleated lower garment. The navel is a hole punched in the abdomen, a stippled pattern marks the outer edge of the nipples.

He is identified by the lotus and the effigy of Amitabha on the central panel of his crown. His hair is gathered in a bunch forming an open-fan shape behind the crown. The large black pupils are missing from his silver-inlaid eyes.

9th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, brass, at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York (USA).

Avalokiteshvara holds his lotus in a manner specific to the Swat Valley area, where the lotus often has six petals (this one has five and the previous one had eight). He is adorned with floral jewellery and a thin scarf worn in a manner that leaves the chest uncovered. The devotee attached to the base is probably the donor of the sculpture.

His backplate is missing.

 

 

Swat Valley, Ratnasambhava (2)

10th century, Swat Valley, Ratnasambhava, bronze, private collection, photo by Christie’s.

Out of the five dhyani buddhas, Ratnasambhava is the one whose right hand is held with the palm open, to express generosity. In Himalayan art these buddhas normally have the other hand cupped (and sometimes holding a pot or a bowl) in the gesture of meditation. In the Swat Valley area they may hold it at an angle as above (the same applies to other buddhas and to bodhisattvas). Ratnasambhava sits on a cushion over a lion throne covered with a cloth with tassels in each corner and supported by a rocky formation. There is a small lion at the front.

Swat Valley, seated Avalokiteshvara (6)

8th-9th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver and copper inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Avalokiteshvara holds the stem of a multiple lotus in his left hand while doing the gesture of supreme generosity with the other. Following Swat Valley standards, the figure has harmonious body proportions, a thin waist and a punched navel. The eyes are inlaid with silver, the lips with copper. He wears a tripartite crown with floral panels, matching earrings and armbands, plain bangles, no sacred thread.

His head his topped with a vajra finial.

His hair is divided into three plaits at the back.

7th century, Swat Valley, labelled Udayana region (Uddiyana), Avalokiteshvara, bronze with silver-inlaid eyes, source not quoted, published on pininterest.

Few Swat Valley works depict Avalokiteshvara sitting this way (i.e. crossed-legs rather than in the vajra or the royal position). He holds a large lotus bud in his left hand.

Swat Valley, seated Avalokiteshvara (5)

6th-7th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, copper alloy with silver inlay, private collection, photo by Bonhams.

Avalokiteshvara in his popular ‘padmapani’ form  (‘lotus bearer’) is seated in the vajra position on a ‘strangled’ lotus base with a Kashmiri-style plinth and kneeling donor, his right hand displaying generosity, the other holding the stem of a large lotus flower.

The urna and the wide-open eyes are inlaid with silver.  There is a small effigy of Amitabha at the front of his crown. His large floral earrings are typical of the area.

7th century circa, Swat Valley, bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara), bronze, private collection, published on http://www.gandhara.com.au

A similar image, on two cushions over a single lotus base, with rougher pleating and a V-shaped necklace with a small pendant.

7th century, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

Swat Valley thrones normally have a tassel in each corner and a cloth with tassels at the front. This one is supported by two snow lions and rests on a lotus over a small plinth. The way his right arm is held suggests that the broken hand was doing the fear-allaying gesture. His left hand holds the stem of a lotus and a lotus bud.

7th century circa, same as before.

The pensive form of this bodhisattva was particularly popular in the Swat Valley area. The above sits on a lotus, over what looks like an imitation of the wicker hassock often seen on 7th and 8th century sculptures from that region.

8th century circa, Swat Valley, Avalokiteshvara, bronze, private collection, published on Himalayan Art Resources.

This is an example of a wicker hassock covered with a cloth and supported by a lotus. The deity holds a tulip-shaped lotus in his left hand and appears to have another such lotus in his lap.