Exhibitions/ Art Object

Torso of Bodhisattva, probably Avalokiteshvara

ca. 6th century
Southern India
Copper alloy
H. 5 7/8 in. (15 cm); W. 4 5/16 in. (11 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by Victoria and Albert Museum, London (IM.300-1914)
Not on view
When the finely cast bronze icon of Avalokiteshvara (cat. no. 6) was excavated in peninsular Thailand in 1961, comparisons were quickly drawn with the famous bronze bodhisattva torso recovered in the Krishna River Delta, Andhra Pradesh, southern India (cat. no. 7). This bronze discovered in Thailand and related works recovered in Java and Borneo form a coherent class of object and are unlikely to have been locally cast. Such a widespread diffusion of the late Amaravati style of southern India, as represented by the Andhra Pradesh bronze, was probably a consequence both of the circulation of monks and of active commerce in religious icons and associated paraphernalia.

cat. no. 7
Found in the Krishna River Delta, Andhra Pradesh, India. Purchased in 1914 from Robert Sewell Esq., for £3 by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia, 5th to 8th Century," April 14, 2014–July 27, 2014.

Sivaramamurti, C. South Indian Bronzes. Lalit Kalā Series of Indian Art. New Delhi: Lalit Kalā Akademi, 1963: 45, PL. 2b; Snellgrove, D., The Image of the Buddha, Paris and Tokyo: Serindia Publications, 1978: 126-128; Schastok, Sara. “Bronzes in the Amaravati Style: Their Role in the Writing of Southeast Asian History.” In Ancient Indonesian Sculpture, Marijke Klokke (ed.), Leiden: KITLV Press, 1994: 43-44, Pl.10; Guy, J., ‘South Indian Buddhism and its Southeast Asian Legacy’, in: Anupa Pande and Parul Pandya Dhar (eds.) Cultural Interface of India with Asia, New Delhi, 2004: 164, PL. 15.14; Guy, J., ‘Pan-Asian Buddhism and the Bodhisattva Cult in Champa’, in Tran Ky Phuong and B. M. Lockhart (eds), The Cham of Vietnam: History, Society and Art, Singapore: NUS Press, 2011: 310, fig. 10.