5361

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Rare Javanese Cast Bronze Image of Twelve-Armed Chunda

Java, Indonesia, Classical Period
Classical Period, 9th century

height: 10.4cm, width: 7.2cm, weight: 549g

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Provenance

Private collection, London, UK

This image, most probably of Chunda, has been cast as a single piece and shows the goddess seated in lalitasana on a finely rendered double-petaled throne and with the pendant foot resting on a lotus bloom. The image has eleven arms (one is now missing). It is particularly fine, dynamic and three dimensional, with its multiple arms reaching out at various distances and at various angles. The fineness and crispness of the details is exemplary. The fingers, dress patterns and jewellery are all well delineated. She wears a tall, jewelled headdress. A vajra is one of the attributes clearly visible in one of her hands, so this image is clearly a Buddhist rather than a Hindu deity.

The image has been cast with a nimbus surrounded by stylised flames but much of this no longer is present.

According to Fontein (1990, p. 220), twelve-armed goddesses rarely are seen in Indonesian bronzes but that pilgrims from Indonesia did frequent Bihar in India in the ninth century and from there Esoteric Buddhism began to spread to Indonesia. One consequence of this was the proliferation of representations of multi-armed goddesses in Java.

The example here is superb. The casting is of the highest standard, and the patina is incontrovertible.

References

Fontein, J., et al, The Sculpture of Indonesia, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1990.
Lerner, M. & S. Kossak, The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1991.
Lunsingh Scheurleer, P., & M.J. Klokke, Ancient Indonesian Bronzes: A Catalogue of the Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam with a General Introduction, E.J. Brill, 1988.

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