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Sri Lankan Kandyan-Period Gilded Standing Bronze Buddha

Kandy, Sri Lanka
18th century

height: 23cm, weight: 543g



UK art market

This fine example of a Kandyan-style standing Buddha is finely cast in bronze with traces of gilding. Originally, it would have been completely covered in a thin layer of gold. Unusually, the image is hollow, rather than solid.

The image stands on a hour-glass shaped dais. The robes or civara are long and folded in a typical way for a Kandyan 18th century standing depiction of the Buddha. They are decorated with fine, wavy lines, front and back.

The Buddha stands with his right hand held aloft in the jnana mudra  (‘teaching’) position.

The image has a prominent, flaming unisha or sirispata (crown protuberance), in a style that is typical of Sri Lankan Buddha images. The feet are rectangular, the right nipple is exposed, the shoulders remarkably broad and square, the face rounded with a wide nose and a single, barely-present eyebrow, and the head is decorated with tight curls – all these are typical of the 18th century Kandyan style.

The image has a fine patina and is in perfect condition. It was acquired in the UK and almost certainly has been in the UK since the colonial era.


Coomaraswamy, A.K., Bronzes from Ceylon, Chiefly in the Colombo Museum,Colombo Museum, 1914 (reprinted 1988).

Coomaraswamy, A.K., Mediaeval Sinhalese Art, Pantheon Books, 1956 reprint of the 1908 edition.

Phoenix Art Museum, Guardian of the Flame: Art of Sri Lanka, Phoenix Art Museum, 2003.

De Silva, P.H.D.H., A Catalogue of Antiquities and Other Cultural Objects from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) Abroad,National Museums of Sri Lanka, 1975.

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