Friday, February 22, 2008

The 1500 year old Sultanganj Buddha

The 1500 year old Sultanganj Buddha was one of the first items acquired by BM&AG and has been on continuous display in the city for over 140 years. The Buddha was discovered during the building of the East Indian Railway, a project that involved the export of over two million tons of rails, sleepers and carriages made in England. The Buddha was brought to Birmingham at a time when the city, as a centre of world metallurgy, was forming a museum for the inspiration of its craftsmen. At over two metres tall and weighing over 500kg, the statue is probably the most important work of Indian art in the country and its complicated history speaks of the complicated processes by which England has been bonded to parts of the world, such as the Indian subcontinent. This bond continues through the many people of South Asian origin who, following in the footsteps of the Buddha, have made Birmingham their home.

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