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Antique Borobudur Stone Buddha Head

AGE: – 8th – 10th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Lava stone
DESCRIPTION: – Antique Borobudur Stone Buddha Head – one ear with chipped edges

HEIGHT: – 37cm
WIDTH:– 27cm
WEIGHT:– 18.05 kg.
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8th – 10th Century Antique Borobudur Stone Buddha Head – Buddhist art in Java was at its height during the reign of the Shailendra/Syailendra Dynasty, between the 8th and 10th Century AD. Today the most famous and most visited Buddhist temple built during that period is the Borobudur stupa, located in Kedu Valley in central Java.

The kings of the Shailendra dynasty were intensely devoted to the Buddhist faith and actively traded with the Pala and Chola kings in India, as well as the Srivijaya empire in Sumatra. The kings of Srivijaya in Sumatra also founded monasteries in Nalanda and Nagapattinam in India.

During this period both the Pala and Chola kings were practicing the Mahayana school of Buddhism and has become the most dominant form of Buddhism in China, Japan, Tibet and to many South East Asian countries.

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This lava stone Buddha head as well as another Buddha Head we acquired 40 years ago whilst residing in Indonesia. Although we have stated these Buddha heads to be from Borobudur, expert advice has suggested that they may have come from another Buddhist site in Java or possibly Sumatra.

The Srivajaya kingdom flourished and continued to grow, and by the 9th century it controlled most of java but eventually it was lost to the Chola in 1025 AD when they seized Palembang. Towards the end of the 12th century Srivijaya empire had shrunk and its dominant role in Sumatra was taken by Malayu a vassal of Java.

The copper-plate grant of Devapala-deva shows the close relationship between the Shailendra and the Pala empires. The plate is believed to be the earliest epigraphic record of a Brahman king making a gift of land to a Buddhist monastery for the upkeep and maintenance of monks, and for copying of manuscripts in the monastery built by the Sumatran king. The plate also mentions that the grant was given by the king on the request of Maharaja Balaputra Deva of Suvarnadvipa i.e. Sumatra.

After the gradual spread of Islam throughout Indonesia from the 13th century, Borobudur and the Hindu kingdoms which had previously flourished went into decline, many converting to Islam.

The Borobudur temple structure was eventually overtaken by jungle over the following few hundred years until it was discovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

Today the Borobudur Temple is a popular pilgrimage site by Indonesian and visiting Buddhists from South East Asia on Wesak day. Wesak day is also referred to as Buddha day where Buddhists of the Theravada school commemorate the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. Wesak day is also celebrated in many other countries where the Theravada School of Buddhism is practiced.

Wesak or Vesakha is a Sanskrit word which is the name of the lunar month in the Hindi Calendar.

More information on the Copper plate grant of Devapala-deva

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