Rare 14th century Buddha sculpture unearthed in Andhra Pradesh
A rare six-feet three-inch tall Buddha sculpture belonging to 14th century was unearthed at Eturu village of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh. The statue was discovered on Friday when the villagers were digging the ground to lay boddu rai, a stone, which is believed to guard the village.
According to reports, the villagers alerted local authorities after unearthing the statue. Subsequently, Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas asked Subhakar Medasani, secretary of Amaravati Buddha Vihar, and Sivanagi Reddy, CEO of Cultural Centre Vijayawada, to visit the site.
Speaking to TNM, Sivanagi said that the statue is a rare piece. “Such a huge statue has never been recovered in south India. Also, the statue has Buddha meditating in Vajrasanam (meditation posture) with flames behind his head, which is rare. The statue has been identified as Amitabha Buddha,” he said, adding, “It is not a normal Buddha statue.”
The CEO explained that there are five types of Buddha statues, including Akshodaya, Vairochana and Avalokiteshwara.
“Previously, we have found statues in this celestial posture in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. We found statues in Kunthuru, Kollapattu, Nidamarru in AP and Nagapattinam, Tanjvur in Tamil Nadu; but those statues were small.”
He added, “The entire Krishna belt was once influenced with Buddhism. Krishna is close to Amaravati. Earlier, we found such small statues in the region, but a statue this huge was never found.”
The team traced the statue to the 14th century, because in Gadaladeniya Vihara, an ancient Buddhist temple in Srilanka has a mention of Dhanyakatakam, present day Amaravati. “It is written that the sculptures were ruined in Dhanyakatakam, following which a monk from Sri Lanka came and brought back its past glory during 1440 AD,” Reddy said.
The statue is 6.3 feet, 4 feet wide and 1.5 feet thick, entirely carved on a granite.
While the archaeology department wanted to preserve the statue and study it, the villagers have declined their request. “The villagers feel that it is a good sign that they have unearthed such a huge statue. They appealed to us that they will preserve it. Following this, we have shifted the statue to a school in the village school,” Reddy said.