Bronze figure Amitāyus Buddha


Nepal, late 19th or early 20th century, private collection from Finland.

Nepal is situated just to the south of the Himalayan mountain peaks. Himalaya, stretching from Pakistan to Myanmar, forms the highest land boundary on our planet and is one of the linguitically most complex regions. The Nepal is a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural country made up of more than 125 ethnic groups and more than 123 languages. Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from three major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman languages, and various indigenous language isolates. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the largest city.

The Buddha Amitāyus (also know as Amida or Amitābha) is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising Western attributes of discernment, pure perception and purification of aggregates with a deep awareness of emptiness of all phenomena. Amitābha means the "Infinite Light", and Amitāyus means "Infinite Life" (from "amita" meaning infinite and "ayus" meaning life). This Buddha was depicted either in simple monk's robes without jewelry or crown, or as the crowned Amitāyus, like the current example.

Exquisitely cast gilded bronze alloy Amitāyus Buddha is seated in the pose of royal ease (maharajalilasana, rajalilasana) on a finely detailed double lotus pedestal with beaded borders, with his right hand gesturing to the earth in the bhumisparsa mudra position, while the left hand is held elegantly in dhyana mudra. The posture bhumisparsha mudra, known as ”calling the earth to witness”, symbolizes the Buddha's enlightenment under the bodhi tree, when he summoned the earth goddess, Sthavara, to bear witness to his attainment of enlightenment. The rounded face with eyes downcast providing a benevolent expression, the hair swept back in a topknot with loose curling tresses falling on the shoulders, a elaborate five-point diadem with short sashes tied behind the ears, with large floriform earrings, beaded bracelets and armbands with foliate projections, wearing a shawl over the broad shoulders revealing a bare torso festooned with a plain sash and jewelled chains radiating from strands of pearls forming the central collar, the long dhoti, secured about the waist with a jeweled belt, falling over his legs in undulous folds, with a billowing celestial scarf over the arms.

Hollow cast in one piece. Bottom plate are missing. Excellent condition. Age-related wear, abrasion and minor corrosion. Dirt and dust. Size approx. 26,0cm x 16,0cm x 12,0cm. Weight c.1540g.