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A Rare Volcanic Stone Figure of Amoghasiddhi Buddha
Circa ninth century; Central Java, Indonesia
Estimated price: €80,000-120,000

By the seventh century, Buddhism was established in many parts of the Indonesian archipelago as attested by inscriptions and archaeological remains. Amoghasiddhi Buddha, exemplified by the present volcanic stone figure is believed to be ‘unfailingly successful’ and to have the power of infallible magic. He is carved seated in vajrasana with the broken right hand formerly in abhayamudra or the ‘do-not-fear’ gesture. In fact, remnants of the structure supporting the right hand are still visible at the centre of his right foot sole, though strongly worn throughout the ages.

He is clad in a diaphanous monk’s garb draped with a pleated section falling over his left shoulder down along his back. His facial features display still elements of Gupta artistic ideals, like the aquiline nose and rounded curls covering both head and cranial protuberance. The round facial line does reflect however, the Javanese physiognomy. The combination gives the head a definite softer and more introverted feeling than many of its Indian counterparts.

Although the head was found separated from the body, technical research has shown that both were once sculpted from the same block of volcanic stone, composed of similar proportions of the same minerals with corresponding grain size. The size, shape and surface roughness of the fracture planes of head and body fit perfectly together.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 16, 2012.