172. Four-Armed Tara on a Double Lotus Throne

Swat Valley, 7th century AD
Size: 7.5 cm high

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The lotus base, with leaves like artichokes, is typical of the Swat Valley, which was renowned for its skilled metal-working. At the time it was under the rule of a Shahi king, about whom we are well informed by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang because he met him. He recorded that the king had constructed a figure of Buddha in silver over 20 feet tall. This silver Tara is touching also because it was made not so long before the Muslims arrived. It represents the last flowering of early Buddhist art in the area.