Bronze figure of the seated Buddha

From Danesar Khera, Central India
Gupta period, 5th century AD

Metal figures of the Gupta period (AD 320-550) are generally made of bronze (that is copper mixed with a small percentage of tin and other alloys). They are smaller than stone images, usually ranging between 30 and 50 cm in height, and portable. As a result, they were carried in religious processions, worshipped in a domestic shrine and even carried away as sacred mementoes by pilgrims to China, Central Asia, Sri Lanka and South-east Asia, where they were a strong influence on their respective artistic traditions.

India is famous for its bronze casting tradition, which was very sophisticated from an early date. Images such as this one, are made in the cire perdue or 'lost wax' process. The metal caster would model his figure in wax and then prepare a negative terracotta cast from that model. The positive was then produced by pouring molten metal into the terracotta cast. After the metal cooled and solidified it was broken away from the mould and finished with fine tools.

Find in the collection online

More information


W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)


Height: 35.500 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1969.7-25.1


Brooke Sewell Fund


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore