Crowned Buddha Touching the Head of a King (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

8th or 9th century
copper alloy with copper, silver, and niello inlays and traces of pigment
India,probably Gilgit (present-day Pakistan), Kashmir region
Overall: 11 1/2 × 6 × 4 in. (29.21 × 15.24 × 10.16 cm)
This figure’s precise identity has been variously suggested as a bejeweled version of the historical Buddha Shakaymuni, the Bodhisattva Manjushri, or one of the Five Cosmic Buddhas, either Akshobhya or Vairochana. Seated in yogic posture on a cushioned lion throne, he holds a manuscript or thunderbolt in his left hand and touches the head of a small figure with his right. Crowned, armored, and holding an incense burner and wreath, this diminutive figure must be the Patola Shahi king whose name is recorded in the dedicatory inscription on the bronze’s base. The Buddha’s gesture seems one either of investiture or protection. A pierced lug on the rear of the sculpture originally held a back plate, probably a halo or larger surround.
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
2018: "Images of Awakening: Buddhist Sculpture from Pakistan and Afghanistan", Georgia Museum of Art, The University of Georgia, March 24 - June 17, 2018

2015: “Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and its Legacies”, Block Museum of Art, Northwestern Univ., Chicago, 1/13 - 4/19/2015; Rubin Museum of Art, New York, 5/22 - 10/19/2015.

2010-2013: "Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts", Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 11/20/2010 - 2/27/2011; Asiam Art Museum, San Francisco, 10/21/2011- 4/8/2012; VMFA, 5/19-8/19/2012; Field Museum, Chicago, IL, 10/17/2012 - 2/3/2013

2002: "A Golden Legacy: Fifty Years of the Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund"; VMFA 4/2 - 8/18/2002.

1982-1983: "The Silk Route and the Diamond Path" Esoteric Buddhist Art on the Trans-Himalayan Trade Routes", Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, 11/7/1982 - 1/2/1983; Asia Society Gallery, New York, 2/6 - 4/3/1983; National Museum of Natural History/National Museum of Man, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 4/28 - 6/30/1983.

1977-1978: "The Sensuous Immortals: A Selection of Sculptures from the Pan-Asian Collection", LACMA, 10/25/1977 - 1/15/1978; Seattle Art Museum, 3/9 - 4/23/1978; Denver Art Museum, 5/26 - 7/30/1978; William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas City, 9/15 - 10/29/1978
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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