Buddhist deity from the Nganjuk mandala

Historical period(s)
late 10th century
High tin bronze
Nganjuk style
H x W x D: 7.9 × 5.1 × 3.7 cm (3 1/8 × 2 × 1 7/16 in)
Indonesia, Java, Nganjuk
Credit Line
Promised gift of Ann and Gilbert Kinney to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Long-term loan
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Sculpture


Buddhist personages, Indonesia, Java
Provenance research underway.

With its elegant and natural appearance, this Buddhist deity epitomizes the mastery of Javanese sculptors, who are celebrated for their small-scale bronzes. The deity's downcast eyes, long and thin nose, smiling lips and elongated limbs are modelled with great refinement; his posture--slightly leaning to the right--is charmingly relaxed.

Identified as Ghanta Bearer (the one who carries a bell), the deity belongs to the famous "Nganjuk mandala" group of small separately cast bronzes that were once part of a three-dimensional, multi-story arrangement that represents a cosmic diagram. The description of this mandala is found in an Indian text written by a Buddhist monk in the 10th-11th century.
In 1913, a farmer discovered the sculptures while cultivating land in the fertile Nganjuk district of eastern Java. Although they vary in size and imagery, the bronzes were conceived as a unified group.

Published References
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 120-121.
Collection Area(s)
Southeast Asian Art
Web Resources
F|S Southeast Asia
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