The base of the image on the back carries a Newari inscription which informs us that this image of Akshobhya Tathagata (Buddha) was dedicated by Jivamuni Simha to mark the death of his father Jivanasimha in the year 741 of the Newari era corresponding to 1641 CE. Thus, not only does it date the sculpture but provides us with interesting information that it is a memorial commission. The Buddha Akshobhya may well have been their family deity, or perhaps the donor wished his father to go to the paradise of Akshobhya
.The sculpture is also art-historically interesting as it clearly shows the archaizing tendencies of Nepali art and the dangers of dating undated works. Had the inscription not been added it is quite likely that the Buddha with his beautifully chased cushion would have been dated much earlier. Indeed, the figure clearly echoes stylistic elements of 10th–11th century works.
The three separately made pieces have been skilfully assembled to create a sumptuous composition. The great monk’s simple form is contrasted with the typically busy throneback with a variety of mythical creatures such as makara, garuda, and naga. Their dynamic forms, swirling, foliating tails, along with luxuriant, stylized vegetal and flame motifs create a rich tapestry. His head surrounded by a halo, the tranquil Buddha makes the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparshamudra), there by announcing his imperturbability (akshobhya). Given to Buddha Shakyamuni, the gesture symbolizes his steadfastness against the assault of Mara. The tiered pedestal is quietly adorned with two elephants in the recesses with a wheel on the projected facade, all symbols of the Buddha.
Karl and Meherbai Khandalavala Collection