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Rare Cast Bronze Image of Twelve-Armed Chunda
Java, Indonesia, Classical Period
height: 10.4cm, width: 7.2cm, weight: 549g
This image, most probably of Chunda, has been cast as a single piece and shows the goddess seated in lalitasana on a finely rendered double-petaled
throne and with the pendant foot resting on a lotus bloom. The image has eleven arms (one is now missing). It is particularly fine, dynamic and three
dimensional, with its multiple arms reaching out at various distances and at various angles. The fineness and crispness of the details is exemplary. The
fingers, dress patterns and jewellery are all well delineated. She wears a tall, jewelled headdress. A vajra is one of the attributes clearly visible in one of her
hands, so this image is clearly a Buddhist rather than a Hindu deity.
The image has been cast with a nimbus surrounded by stylised flames but much of this no longer is present.
According to Fontein (1990, p. 220), twelve-armed goddesses rarely are seen in Indonesian bronzes but that pilgrims from Indonesia did frequent Bihar in
India in the ninth century and from there Esoteric Buddhism began to spread to Indonesia. One consequence of this was the proliferation of representations of
multi-armed goddesses in Java.
The example here is superb. The casting is of the highest standard, and the patina is incontrovertible.
Fontein, J., et al, The Sculpture of Indonesia, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1990.
Lerner, M. & S. Kossak, The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
Lunsingh Scheurleer, P., & M.J. Klokke, Ancient Indonesian Bronzes: A Catalogue of the Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam with a General
Introduction, E.J. Brill, 1988.
Provenance: private collection, London, UK
Inventory no.: 5361
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