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Set Six Indonesian Bronze Mandala Figures with Instruments and Sutra

Set Six Indonesian Bronze Mandala Figures with Instruments and Sutra

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Sculpture: Pre 1920: Item # 1310276
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Frederick, MD 21701

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A set of six unusual Buddhist bronze figures, each seated upon a lotus base and generally forming a pear shape. The mustached and bearded figures with plumed head wear and flowing robes each holding a musical instrument - one reading a sutra. It appears the figures were all from the same mould while the arms and attributes were done separately and joined to the figures. The latter figure (particularly) exhibiting wear to the apparently gilt surface, revealing the bronze alloy on the rubbed stomach and sides. The underside of each bronze closed by a recessed copper plate with embossed decoration. Hasty research finds that Indonesia has along history of three dimensional mandalas of which the 9th century temple at Borobodur provides the grandest example. Small Indonesian bronze mandala figures are known to date to as early as the 10th century. The tradition has persisted or repeated into the turn of the 20th century. These figures, clearly with Asian characteristics but with South Asian qualities including longer hair and full mustaches and beards below the chin, may represent later Islamic influence (though depiction of a human form and especially an idol would be prohibited within strict interpretation of Islam.) A melding of different religious experience and culture can be observed. We have seen only a couple similar figures described as late 19th century or early 20th century and only one other set. About turn of the century, we opt for a conservative dating of "pre 1920". We arrive at a price of $900 from an average of about $150 per figure but sold as a set. Good condition though showing imperfections of somewhat provincial castings and metalwork. Each height about 4 3/4 inches (12 cm) to top of plume.