Two figures of Buddha from Pala

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Photographer: Arthur Llewellyn Basham

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Two slightly more refined Buddhas are also preserved in the British Museum's collection of Indian sculpture from the Pala Period, these dating to the 8th and 10th centuries respectively. Both show the Buddha seated in the yogi-ascetic posture. The first (a) depicts the master raising his hand in the 'protective' gesture while the second (b) shows Buddha, hands in lap, in quiet introverted meditation. By these two gestures, or lack of gestures as the case may be, one can read to the development of Tantrism, the worship of the Adi-Buddha only, from Late Mahayana Buddhism, and the worship of the mortal Buddha. Stylistically, there is a similar spirit of the Gupta classical tradition, present in each figure
however, the earlier Buddha (a) is closer to the more strictly Buddhist conceptions of form and expression that are entirely particular to the mortal Buddha. The later figure (b) is more anonymously styled, for there is a conspicuous lack of specific references to any event in a particular Buddha's life whereas these references are included in the earlier example (notice the base of the figure (a) showing the Deer Park scene). -- (a) 8th Century. (b) 10th Century. London, British Museum.

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Bengal & Bihar-- Sculpture - Bengal & Bihar, Buddhist, stone sculpture, slide set

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This item is provided for research purposes. Contact the Australian National University Archives at butlin.archives@anu.edu.au for permission to use.

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