Crowned Buddha

Period: Pala period, Kurkihar style

Date: 10th–11th century

Culture: India (Bihar)

Medium: Bronze inlaid with silver, lapis lazuli, and rock crystal

Dimensions: H. 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm); W. 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm); D. 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm); Wt. 7 lbs (7 lbs (3.2 kg)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation, 1993

Accession Number: 1993.311a, b


The Buddha is touching the earth at the moment of enlightenment. His crown, necklace, eyes, and urna (forehead dot) are inlaid with silver; the flaming mandorla and the stepped throne were inlaid with lapis lazuli and rock crystal (extremely rare surviving vestiges of these materials can be seen on the base). The crown seems to be at odds with the Buddha’s renouncing his princely childhood. While the diverse meaning of the crown is debated, in Tibet it often refers to heavens or pure lands where cosmic Buddhas reside and are accessible to worshippers through devotion and ritual.