In July, 1954, a small bronze buddha was unearthed in Helgö, Ekerö Island in Sweden, when archeologists were searching and digging a Viking ruin. It is now in the National Historical Museum, Stockholm.

A quote from the original report. "The face is finely drawn with elbows and mouth inlaid with dark substance: eyes inlaid with turquoise(?) and on the right eye an irregular red colour; caste-mark of gold in the middle of the forehead; the ears have much drawn down lobes; the hair is ring punched and at the very top a small semi-globular calotte is placed; the neck has two parallel furrows (fat calluses)... The back has been more summarily modeled. An extra plate with holes at the neck. an indication of a tap between the shoulders and a riveting hole at the foot of the back of the lotus throne indicate that the figure has leant against a decorated backpiece. At both elbows there are extra applied square bronze plates (repairs?). At the discovery, there was round the neck and round the wrist a leather-strap 0.06 cm W. with folded and bent borders. Measures H. 8.4, greatest W. (the Throne) 6.4.Site M 34;-12"

Ref. W.Holmqvist ed., Excavations at Helgö, I, report for 1954-56, Stockholm


Photo by the  Swedish History Museum .

The leather strap shows that the owner (a Viking) regarded this bronze a talisman/amulet. The repairs are unskilled. Maybe done by foreign craftsmen (Russian?). On the style this buddha may be made in Swat or Kasimir: both are neighbours, but Swat is in Pakistan and Kasimir in India. Scholars think its date A.D. 8-9th century. The route to Scandinavia is said to be the "Amber route", which transport amber from the north and silk and others to the north through Russian rivers and stepps.



In March of 2015, Sweden Post released a stamp that depicts the Buddha sitting in a lotus as part of a series commemorating the Era of Vikings. The illustration is of a small, bronze statuette of the Buddha.

Today, the statue, which is on display at the Swedish History Museum, is regarded as the most famous and remarkable find from the site, hence receiving the special honor of appearing on a stamp.