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Antique Indonesian Bronze Buddha
Head of Buddha
Centural Java Borobuder Fragment

Indonesian, Circa: 19th century
H 9 in.(23cm), W 7 in.(18cm), D 6.5 in.(16.5cm)
Condition: very good!

Light falling upon on this piece creates a soft sheen that brings alive the fleshly, sensual carving. Overall the patina has darkened to a rich chocolate color. In the creases and folds of the features, tones of ochre, gold and green have bloomed, enriching the depth of the linear elements and adding to the almost moist appearance of the face; projecting a calm and austere presence, a sense of its original splendor.

This magnificent head of Buddha once belonged to a seated figure. It is possible that the piece is indeed a sculpture from Borobudur, or it may come from Pranamban or Kedu regions. The work conforms to the Borobudur style and is in accord with texts that say the face of the Buddha “should be made squarish in form, sharply delineated, beautifully full and endowed with brilliant and pleasing marks.” Here the gentle and serene countenance, the hair arranged in short circular locks curling to the right, the urna fashioned as a prominent dot in the middle of the forehead and the elongated earlobes, the entire style and the surface establish this bronze as dating from the eighth to the tenth century. It is cast in three pieces and finished with a file, marks of which can be seen, with traces of gilding remaining. -- R.W.

Indonesia consists of over thirteen thousand islands and is home to many different ethnic groups. It is only recently that the study of Indonesian art has expanded beyond the island of Java with its famous sculptures at Borobudur.


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