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2. Pedestal picturing a Buddha
Bihar, India
8th-12th century, Pala period
Black stone
H. 36 cm
Pedestal picturing a Buddha

This sublime Buddhist statue throne features a remarkably large representation of the standing Buddha. The BlessedOne, stands at the entrance of the temple, within a three-lobed opening. With his right hand, he spreads his favors (varadamudrā). The left hand, brought to arm’s length, holds a flap of the monastic robe (saṃghāṭī), also called the “outer garment” (uttarāsanga).

Of the distinctive marks (also called lakṣaṇa) of the “great man” (mahāpuruṣa), tradition will retain in representations only the two essential ones, here clearly visible: the fontanel growth (uṣṇīṣa) and the tuft of hair in the lower forehead (ūrṇā). The earlobes, distended by the wearing of heavy ornaments, testify to her renunciation of the vanities of her former worldly life. His neck is also adorned here with the folds of beauty characteristic of the Buddhist canon.

The Blessed One stands upright, and seems to stand out from the architecture, within an extremely marked relief. His body is softly modeled, with an asexual appearance. It is inscribed at the entrance of the façade of a temple, which presents, under an apparent simplicity, a refined and harmonious decoration: vegetal circumvolutions come to decorate the angles, while the three-lobed opening rests on columns with vegetal decoration. The upper lotiform frieze is topped by an inscription. The whole was undoubtedly supporting a Buddhist statue.

This elegance, as well as the refinement of the relief, fully inscribe this sculpture in Pāla art.

Provenance: European private collection (by repute).

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