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Standing Brass Buddha

Sri Lanka
circa 15th century

height: 18cm



UK antique market

This early example of a standing Buddha is finely cast in brass. It also shows traces of gilding (gold-plating). The styling can be seen as a prototype for the Kandyan style of standing Buddha that became so prominent in Sri Lanka in the 18th century.

The stylised pose shows the image with broad shoulders; a prominent, pear-shaped, flaming unisha or sirispata (crown protuberance), in a style that is typical of Sri Lankan Buddha images rises from the head; the face rounded with downcast eyes, a pointy nose and thin eyebrows; square feet; and long robes or civara that are decorated with deep, wavy lines, front and back.

Rather than having the tight curls associated with later examples, the hair is implied and left plain.

The Buddha has his right hand held aloft in the jnana mudra (‘teaching’) position, and stands on a domed, rounded dais.

The image is in fine condition. There is some age-related mottling to the brass here and there.

A related image attributed to either 15th century southern India (Tamil Nadu) or to Sri Lanka is illustrated in Pal (1997, p. 122).


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.

Pal, P., A Collecting Odyssey: Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago/Thames & Hudson, 1997.

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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