This remarkable sculpture of the historical buddha depicts him with a tall conical chignon topped with an equally conical lotus bud finial, almost as if to reach the sky.
His face and neck are painted with cold gold and pigments, the hair dyed with lapis lazuli powder, adding warmth to his facial features. The eyes are inlaid with silver. The piece of robe folded over his left shoulder reveals an incised pattern.
His delicates fingers were cast separately. The nails are inlaid with copper, the hem of his garments is inlaid with silver and copper. A tiny vajra sceptre is placed before him.
Although thousands of metal sculptures depicting Shakyamuni have been produced in Tibet, each one has specific features that makes it unique. Here, the eyebrows form a single wavy line. His dhoti has a thick waistband. He has an elongated neck with deep folds. The cloth over his shoulder is folded into a single narrow piece.
This buddha’s slender waist, broad shoulders and big limbs, small rosettes over his ears, black pigment in his hair and tear-shaped urna on his forehead are (almost certainly) the work of a Nepalese artist. The hem of his clothes is decorated with an incised pattern and thick beading, the folds of the robe over his left shoulder are complemented by a highly original floral or raining-jewel pendant. A wheel of dharma is embossed on the sole of each foot.
The use of rich gilding and stone inlay seems a contradiction with the patchwork robe worn by the historical buddha as part of his vow of poverty, but this was the style favoured by Newari artists, often commissioned by Tibetan patrons during the early Malla period. The seams on the above sanghati are made of silver beading, the hem is incised with a rice grain pattern, one end forms two layers of pleats over his left shoulder.
A curious figure with heavy eyelids and thick lips, incised hair curls, flat chignon topped with a flat finial. His transparent sanghati has a plain, thick hem, one end of the garment forming two foliate shapes over his left shoulder.
Undated (Pala Revival), Tibet, Shakyamuni, copper alloy, at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm (Sweden).