North or Eastern Indian / Buddha / late 6th centuryNorth or Eastern Indian
late 6th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Indian Sub-Continent; Indian
Creator Dates/Places: North or Eastern Indian
Creator Active Place: North or Eastern Indian
Creator Name-CRT: North or Eastern Indian
Title: Buddha
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 566
Creation End Date: 599
Creation Date: late 6th century
Creation Place: India, probably Bihar
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Copper alloy
Dimensions: H. 27 in. (68.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.008
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: This bronze sculpture of the Buddha exemplifies the continuing strength of Gupta-style conventions, particularly in northeastern India, during the 6th and 7th centuries. The Gupta period, which lasted from about 319 to about 500, was a period of enormous prosperity and flourishing in the arts. A relatively uniform style is found in sculpture throughout the Gupta empire. This "classic" style spread through much of India, and proceeded to influence the art of places as diverse as Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Java, contributing significantly to the development of religious art, both Buddhist and Hindu in Southeast Asia.

The city of Sarnath, located in Uttar Pradesh in north-central India, was one of the major centers for the production of sculpture during the Gupta period, and it is the style of sculpture produced in this city during the last quarter of the fifth century that best exemplifies the art of the imperial Gupta period. Sculptures from Sarnath are characterized by their graceful bodies, relaxed postures, downcast eyes, slight introspective smiles, clinging drapery, and refined details.

The Buddha illustrated here follows many of the conventions established at Sarnath, in particular, the body type and the treatment of his drapery as a series of folds that cling to and reveal his form. He stands in the abhanga posture, in which one leg is slightly bent to give a feeling of potential movement. His right hand is raised in the ritual gesture of reassurance (abhayamudra). He wears a monk's robe consisting of two large rectangular pieces of cloth, one of which is wrapped around his waist while the other is draped over his shoulders. The garments are almost transparent so as to emphasize the perfection of the Buddha's physical form. He grasps a piece of unattached cloth in his left hand; this cloth may reflect a misunderstanding of an earlier visual tradition in which the Buddha holds the end of his shawl in his left hand.

The stylization of the drapery folds and the attention given to the hemlines of the garments point to this sculpture's origins in eastern India. The slightly elongated proportions of the Buddha, his stiff pose, and thicker thighs are also typical of sculpture produced in Bihar and West Bengal. Further links to east India are seen in the treatment of the Buddha's features, in particular, his long, narrow nose, and the somewhat square shape of his face.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 9.
Related Document Description: Bird, Virgil H., et al. A World View of Art History: Selected Readings. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt, 1985, p. 26.
Related Document Description: Chandra, Pramod. The Sculpture of India: 3000 B.C.-A.D. 1300. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1985, pp. 92-93.
Related Document Description: Cotter, Holland. 'In the Shade of the Bodhi Tree.' Art in America (November 1990), pp. 172-80, 219-21.
Related Document Description: Czuma, Stanislaw J. 'A Gupta Style Bronze Buddha.' Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art (February 1970), pp. 59, 64.
Related Document Description: Gorakshkar, Sadashiv. 'Gupta Bronzes.' Marg 42, no. 3 (1991), pp. 43-44.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 46-47.
Related Document Description: Huntington, Susan L. 'Pre Pala and Pala Period Sculptures in the Rockefeller Collection.' Apollo (November 1983), pp. 376-77.
Related Document Description: Huntington, Susan L., and John C. Huntington. Leaves from the Bodhi Tree: The Art of Pala India (8th-12th Centuries) and Its International Legacy. Dayton and Seattle: Dayton Art Institute and University of Washington Press, 1990, pp. 170-71.
Related Document Description: Khandalavala, Karl. 'Masterpieces in South Indian and Nepalese Bronzes in the Collection of Mr. S. K. Bhedwar of Bombay.' Marg 4, no. 4 (1950), pp. 10-11.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd--Part II. New York: Asia Society, 1975, pp. 2, 20.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. 'Asian Art of the Rockefellers.' Connaissance des Arts 25 (February 1982), pp. 54-55.
Related Document Description: Leidy, Denise Patry. 'Iconography and Provenance: Buddhist Art from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection.' Orientations (March 1993), p. 51.
Related Document Description: Pal, Pratapaditya. The Ideal Image: The Gupta Sculptural Tradition and Its Influence. New York: Asia Society in association with John Weatherhill, 1978, p. 100.
Related Document Description: Robbins, Kenneth X. 'The Sculpture of India: A Review.' Arts of Asia 15 (September-October 1985), pp. 103-04.
Related Document Description: Schroeder, Ulrich von. Indo-Tibetan Bronzes. Hong Kong: Visual Dharma, 1981, pp. 204-05, 216-17.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 39, 118-19.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.008.
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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