Height: 35.500 cm
Brooke Sewell Fund
Asia OA 1969.7-25.1
Room 33: Asia
Bronze figure of the seated Buddha
From Danesar Khera, Central
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.
W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)