STYLE: This sculpture bears many characteristics of bronze images from the Swat Valley, including the use of a very-dark metal alloy, thick wave-shaped flames surrounding the head-nimbus, the folds of the Buddha’s robes, and the type of throne. The latter has a large central textile with thick tassels along its edge. Two ribbons hang from its sides, and it is placed on a lotus with fleshy downturned petals. The Buddha’s robe covers both shoulders, forming a thick wide collar and an undulating hem at the legs. The figures flanking the throne back are stylistically consistent but extremely flat.

CONTENT: In a manner typical for Swat imagery, Buddha Shakyamuni performs the gesture of giving (varadamudra) and holds the end of his robe. He sits cross-legged on a lion throne, a traditional symbol for a “universal ruler” (chakravartin). He is flanked by two smaller bodhisattvas to the sides of his throne, Avalokiteshvara to his right and Maitreya to his left, holding a lotus flower and a flask respectively. While most of these features can be traced back to earlier art of the Gandharan region, the veneration gesture of Maitreya, with his palm raised, is typical for the period.


  • Title: Buddha Sakyamuni
  • Date: 8th century
  • Date Created: 8th century
  • Physical Dimensions: H 6.625 x W 4.375 x D 3 in.
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Rights: Rubin Museum of Art, C2006.71.10
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Place of Creation: Swat
  • Exhibition History: Rubin Museum of Art, "Masterworks: Jewels of the Collection" (02/06/13 - 01/13/14), Rubin Museum of Art, "What is It? Himalayan Art" (11/12/07- 06/14/10)

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