Indonesian / Buddhist Goddess / Shrivijayan style, 9th centuryIndonesian
Buddhist Goddess
Shrivijayan style, 9th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Indonesian
Creator Name-CRT: Indonesian
Title: Buddhist Goddess
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 800
Creation End Date: 899
Creation Date: Shrivijayan style, 9th century
Creation Place: Indonesia, Sumatra
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Copper alloy
Dimensions: H. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.084
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: Shrivijaya was one of the greatest powers in Southeast Asia from the 7th through 9th centuries; inscriptions and other historical records suggest that it continued in some form until the 13th century. The city of Palembang on the island of Sumatra is generally accepted as the capital of Shrivijaya. The treatment of the details of the hairstyle and headdress of this sculpture of an eight-armed seated goddess suggests that this piece is an example of bronze sculpture from Sumatra. The depiction of her hair as a series of diagonal ribbonlike lines and the corkscew curls running along the sides of her topknot and falling over her shoulders is strikingly similar to that found in three 9th-century bronzes discovered in the Komering River at Palembang in 1930, works that continue to be linchpins for the study of sculpture from Sumatra. The representation of her diadem as a thin band with triangular shapes and the three-dimensionality of her armlets are also comparable to those of sculptures excavated in Sumatra. Finally, the static yet not stiff pose of the goddess and her high and extremely thin waist also point to a Sumatran provenance.

With the exception of the thunderbolt, or vajra, in her upper right hand, the attributes held by this goddess are too damaged to recognize with certainty, making the identification of this figure difficult. Her eight arms indicate that she is a goddess, likely a Buddhist one. Very little is known about the religion of Shrivijaya, but we do know that Sumatra was once a major center for the study of Esoteric Buddhism, the branch noted for its worship of female divinities.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 40.
Related Document Description: Chutiwongs, Nandana, and Denise Patry Leidy. Buddha of the Future: An Early Maitreya from Thailand. New York: Asia Society Galleries, distributed by University of Washington Press, 1994, p. 54.
Related Document Description: Huntington, Susan L., and John C. Huntington. Leaves from the Bodhi Tree: The Art of Pala India (8th-12th Centuries) and Its International Legacy. Dayton and Seattle: Dayton Art Institute and University of Washington Press, 1990, p. 228.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.084
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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