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Buddhist head sculpture remnants
Baa, Laamu and Thaa atolls, Maldives





Photos A to D
c. 8th-9th century CE.
Found in Horubadoo island, Baa atoll
Height: 21 cm, Width: 16 cm, Depth: 27 cm

Heavy non-coralstone stone carved head. The hair is shown as tight round curls. There is a narrow band around the forehead, with a depression in the centre front of the band. On each side of the head there is a flat area with a small square protrusion where there could initially have been an attachment or detail. The features and style of this head are reminiscent of South East Asian sculpture.

Pieces chipped off from the head show the white inner stone indicating that, after the sculpture had been prepared, it had been stained with a dark grayish colour. The uneven edge of the head indicates that it was part of a bigger artifact which had been broken off. The head is well carved and covered with lime plaster which had been molded into fine facial features. The nose and part of the right side of the face had been intentionally damaged with a sharp instrument.




Photos E to G
c. 9th-10th century CE.
Found at Mundoo island school grounds on Laamu atoll
Height: 13 cm, Width: 9 cm, Depth: 8 cm

Finely carved coral stone head with an oval face and long graceful neck. The long earlobes are broken off. The head is flat at the back, indicating that earlier it may have been attached to another object.




Photos H to J
c. 6th-8th centuries CE.
Found at Mundoo island on Laamu atoll
Height 28 cm, Width 25 cm, Depth: 12 cm

A small but delicately carved meditating figure made from coral. Reminiscent of the traditional sitting Buddha, with arms placed on the thighs and a halo behind the head. This small sculpture could have formed part of a larger piece.

The relic was found very near the surface in the playing field of the school in Mundoo Island, soon after levelling work was carried out there.



Photos K and L
c. 8th-9th century CE.
Found at Rihiveli Goati in Kinbidoo island on Thaa (Kolumadulu) atoll, 1958
Height: 17 cm, Width: 12 cm, Depth: 15 cm

Beautifully sculptured lower half of a face with delicate features, made from coral stone. Back of the artifact is flat, indicating that it might have been attached to another object.

It was discovered about 600 feet from the stupa called 'Kinbidoo Veyru'. An unscientific excavation of the stupa in September 1958, and removal of coral stones over the years, resulted in very little of the structure remaining. Drawings made at the time of the excavation show a stepped stupa 9 feet high and a diameter of 45 feet 2 inches at the base. According to oral tradition, this stupa was built by people called Redin, a race of people who are said to have had supernatural powers and lived in Maldives for a time. The stupa is tentatively dated to 6th-7th century CE.


Photo M
c. 7th-8th centuries CE
Found at Maalhos island, Baa atoll
Height: 16 cm, Width: 10 cm, Depth: 28 cm

Partly damaged face of Buddha or Buddhist/Hindu deity carved in coral stone.
The hair is set in round curls and there is a decorative 'band' around the head.
Part of the left side of the face is broken off and the mouth is damaged.

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