Sri Lanka, mid-16th century
Asian Civilisations Museum [2011-01506]
This Christian sculpture was carved in ivory by a Buddhist artist in Sri Lanka in the late 16th century. It is the largest known of this type, and also one of the most refined and elegant. Sri Lankan elements are seen in the jewellery and the robes, which resemble those worn by Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka.
Another Buddhist element added to this sculpture is the trivali on the necks of the Virgin and Jesus. These three incised lines are distinguishing marks of the Buddha. Their presence reveals that the local artist also perceived the Virgin and Child as important religious figures.