• Missing image
  • 1979.015-view-a.jpg
  • 1979.015-view-b.jpg


About 1070-1120

India, Tamil Nadu

Copper alloy

H. 27 1/4 x W. 9 1/2 x D. 9 1/2 in. (69.2 x 24.13 x 24.13 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.15

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According to the inscription on the base of this Buddha, the image was commissioned by members of a metalworkers' guild linked to a temple chapel in Nagapattinam (on India's southeast coast) that was constructed in 1090. The inscription also mentions that this Buddha, like many south Indian Hindu images, was created to be carried in a procession during the temple's sacred festival. The four holes in the base allow for it to be carried, suspended on poles. The flame-shaped ushnisha (a symbol of the Buddha's expanded knowledge) atop the Buddha's head is a distinctive south Indian feature that spread from India to Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), and Thailand. Buddhist images from the Chola period are much scarcer than their Hindu counterparts. Sculptures such as this one, however, illustrate the continuation of Buddhism in south India after the rise of Hinduism. Inscription The inscription has been translated by Vidya Dehejia as: "Well-being [and] prosperity. The nayakar [Buddha], of all of the eighteen countries, of the metalworkers. / The procession image, for the sacred festival of the alvar temple, which was caused to be taken in procession by the respected one (utaiyar) endowed of the four gunas from Cirutavur; [in] the perum-palli (great place of worship or great vihara) of the metalworkers, [in] the perum-palli of Rajendra Chola." (see hard copy for more details)