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The «Tathagatas» (the «perfected ones») are the transcendent Buddhas. They are removed from the laws of nature, timeless and always present. The Tathagata Amithaba is related to the cardinal direction west. In their representation, the transcendent Buddhas may differ from the earthly ones: instead of curly hair with a skull bulge («ushnisha»), they sometimes wear a royal headdress, similar to a crown. Thus, it is conveyed that they are above the things that constrain mortals, namely time, impermanence, and the laws of nature. This Tathagata Amitabha wears a veil, which is in Indian representations of gods an indication of the heavenly. Here it surrounds the Buddha like a nimbus in the typical Western Tibetan form.
This specimen is an early expression of the Western Tibetan style and a remarkable collector’s piece due to its almost flawless state of preservation and also its completeness.
Since 1965 Ulrich von Schroeder has been concerned with Buddhist art and culture. Since 1981 he has published the results of his numerous research trips and the knowledge gained from them in several monographs.
Provenance: Collection Ulrich von Schroeder, Zurich; most recently private collection Frankfurt a.M. and Baden-Baden.
Exhibition: Das Bild des Buddha, Berlin, Galerie im Rathaus Tempelhof, 14.01. - 15.03.1979.
Literature: Ulrich von Schroeder, Indo-Tibetan Bronzes, Hong Kong 1981, p. 182f., ill. 35 E; Helmut Uhlig (Ed.), Das Bild des Buddha, Berlin 1979, ill. 78, p. 147f.