Indo-Pacific Art

Crown Top or Usnisha Cover

late 9th–early 10th century

Repoussé gold sheet and gold wire, with crystal finial

Crown: 14.5 x 9.9 cm, 152 g (5 11/16 x 3 7/8 in., 152 g) Plume: 18 x 3.6 cm, 3.637 g (7 1/16 x 1 7/16 in., 3.637 g)
Gift of Valerie and Hunter Thompson
2008.21.109a-b
This crown was intended to cover the topknot of a person or statue. The small curls evoke the story of snails crawling onto the Buddha’s head to protect him from the hot sun. The crystalline stone at the top of the crown represents the protuberance on the Buddha’s head, which is known as the “bump of wisdom” (usnisha, in Sanskrit). Small holes at the lower rim of the crown indicate that it was meant to be sewn or tied to some other object. Two similar crowns from the late ninth or early tenth century were found in Central Java in the 1990 discovery of the Wonoboyo Hoard, one of the greatest finds of Javanese gold to date.
Geography: 
Made in Java, Indonesia
Culture: 
Java
Period: 
Early Classic period (ca. 650–1000)
Classification: 
Ritual Objects
Status: 
On view*
Bibliography: 

John Miksic, Old Javanese Gold: The Hunter Thompson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011), 141, fig. 22.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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