Amoghasiddhi, the Transcendent Buddha of the North

Date: late 10th–early 11th century

Culture: Western Tibet

Medium: Silver and bronze with copper inlay and traces of gold foil

Dimensions: H. 8 in. (20.3 cm); W. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm); D. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Lita Annenberg Hazen Charitable Trust Gift, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.211


Amoghasiddhi, identified by the vishvavajra (double or crossed thunderbolt) held in his raised right hand and the Garuda on the pedestal, is one of a group of five cosmic Buddhas worshipped in later traditions. The silver Amoghasiddhi is seated in a cross-legged yogic posture on a bronze double-lotus throne supported by a stepped pedestal with columns. In front of the pedestal is a Garuda with outstretched wings and hands clasped in the attitude of adoration. The lips and nipples of the Buddha are overlaid with copper, and there are traces of gold foil over his earrings and upper armbands.

Examples of tenth- or eleventh-century western Himalayan or western Tibetan sculptures of this quality are rare. They represent an extremely important category of sculpture, serving as a bridge between northern India and Kashmiri styles of the eighth and ninth centuries and later sculptural styles (twelfth through fourteenth century) of Tibet and Nepal. The sculpture of the contiguous western Tibetan regions displays a somewhat mannerist continuation of the Kashmiri style of the eighth and ninth centuries. Usually more elegant and elongated, many of these sculptures also show an emphasis on linear elements such as long, fluttering, flat scarves.