Head of a Buddha

  • Nara period
  • 8c
  • Bronze
  • H-4.4 D-3 W-2.8
Catalogue Entry

This head of a Buddha is covered with bluish green patina, and from its barely discernible neck rings, we can assume that it would have originally topped an impressive body form. Overall the features are regularly formed, with long eyes, small, protruding nose, strongly turned back lips and the slightest usnisa bump. These characteristics closely resemble those found on the silver attached Kebutsu image on the front of the crown of the Amoghapaa Avalokitesvara figure in Todaiji's Sangatsudo hall. These features can also be found on the bronze Sakamuni figure of two Buddhist images traditionally owned by the Kaidai‐in. This would then suggest that this Buddha head was created during the high to late period of the Tempyo sculptural style which was the Japanese version of the Chinese Tang style.

The provenance of this work is not clear, but the damage to the back of the head would seem to indicate that it was once in a fire. This impressive head now cloaked in patina is like an unmoving soul in a state of repletion.