The Sultanganj Buddha - Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
The Sultanganj Buddha is probably the largest known complete Indian bronze Buddha sculpture.
It’s a reminder to us of the extraordinary skills of the sculptors and metal craftsmen in ancient India.
The Sultanganj Buddha as the title implies was found in the North Indian town of Sultanganj in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar State during excavations by EB Harris, a railway engineer, during railway construction in 1862, by the East India Company.
The Sultanganj Buddha was visited by around 30,000 local people in the first week, but its excavation was reported around the world and Samuel Thornton, a Birmingham MP lobbied for it to come to the city even funding funded its removal and transport. The Sultanganj Buddha was almost 'scooped' by the curators of the British Museum but Birmingham moved fastest!
The statue is dated by archaelogists at between 500 to 700 AD. It is 2.3m high and 1m wide, and was made using the lost wax Technique. It is now part of the collection of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
The right hand is raised in Abhaya Mudra - Absence of Fear (a gesture of reassurance or protection) while the left hand, with palm outward and held downwards indicates the granting of a favour
The Sultanganj Buddha was buried by monks for safe-keeping some 700 years after it was cast.
The first object to enter Birmingham city’s museum collections, it has inspired generations of Birmingham people.
The statue now plays a new role in the museum’s work with Buddhist communities in the city.
Text adapted from 'Sultanganj Buddha' - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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