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Sculpture from the Kushan Period
Sculpture from North India, 5th-7th Centuries
Jain sculpture
Sculpture of the Pala Period
Stone Sculpture from Hindu Temples
Sculptures from South India, 8th-9th Centuries
Bronze Sculpture of the Chola Period
Art for the Mughal and Rajput Courts
Hindu Temple Hangings
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Buddhist Painting from India, Nepal, and Tibet
Sculpture from Nepal
Sculpture from the Kushan Period
Two Bodhisattvas from Sri Lanka
India, Tamil Nadu; Chola period (880-1279), about 1070 - 1120
Copper alloy
H. 27 1/4 in. (69.2 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
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.

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.

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