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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 March, 2004, 18:18 GMT
Rare Buddha statue to show in UK
Indian Buddha
The rare copper figure is thought to be 1,300 years old
A rare Buddha statue has been jointly acquired by two British museums and will be the first of its kind to be displayed in a European collection.

The British and Victoria and Albert museums acted together to bring the 7th Century metal Indian artwork to the UK.

It will be on display in the British Museum for three months before touring the UK after being exhibited at London's Victoria and Albert.

The Sakyamuni was bought with 850,000 of funds from a variety of sources.

After its tour of Birmingham, Bradford and Leicester, the 14-inch (35-cm) sculpture will be shown on permanent rotation between the V&A and British Museum.

'Rare and beautiful'

Mark Jones, director of the V&A, called the acquisition a "rare and beautiful" object. "It will add immeasurably to our collections," he said.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said he was "delighted" the two museums pooled their resources to purchase the sculpture for the nation.

"We will show it in a new way which means it will be seen by people this year across the length and breadth of the country," added Mr MacGregor.

The Buddha is depicted in the style of the Gupta period, which makes it some 1,300 years old.

It is golden in tone and shows the figure with its right hand raised in a gesture of benevolence.

The statue will be the subject of this year's Anthony Gardner lecture at the V&A, which takes place on 27 April.

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