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India, probably Bihar; late 6th century
Copper alloy
H. 27 in. (68.6 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
In this rare and important bronze image from eastern India, the Buddha raises his right hand in the gesture of reassurance (abhaya mudra) and holds a piece of unattached cloth in his left hand. This cloth reflects a misunderstanding of an earlier tradition in which the Buddha holds the ends of his robes in his left hand. As in most representations, the Buddha wears the traditional garments of a monk. These consist of two large rectangular pieces of cloth, one wrapped around his waist and the other draped over his shoulders; the two layers can be seen where the hemlines fall at different levels. The stylization of the folds of this Buddha's nearly transparent robe follows conventions established in Mathura (north-central India) in the last quarter of the 5th century.
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