15th-16th century, style og Lanna
H. 24cm or 9 ⅜ in
This remarkably refined bronze Buddha head from the 15th-16th century is a superb example of the style of Lanna, an ancient kingdom in northern Thailand.
Śākyamuni Buddha is the embodiment of spiritual compassion and this bronze head demonstrates this nature in a very beautiful way. The face is harmonious, well-balanced and graceful. The eyes with half-closed eyelids underline his serene meditation and the very fine mouth smiles discreetly. The very careful modelling, the smoothness of the facial features, the chin, underlined on both sides by an incised line, and the ears with pointed tips bending outwards: all this is characteristic of this Lanna style.
The kingdom of Lanna created indeed a specific style, combining the characteristics of Sukhothai art with the influence of Indian sculpture. This particular aesthetic is perfectly illustrated here with the hooked nose, eyebrows arching to the bridge of the nose, hair with tiny juxtaposed curls, the high and round uṣṇīṣa, all features that reflect Sukhothai’s style. However, when all this is put together, the effect is different, closer to the spirit of classical Indian Buddhist statues, more vigorous, present and majestic.
The well-preserved auspicious beauty folds at the base of the neck and the fragment of the folded shawl (saṃghāṭi) covering Buddha’s left shoulder contribute to the aerial and complete appearance of the sculpture. The very beautiful brown patina of bronze adds an aesthetic value to this piece.
Provenance: Private collection, France, since 1980.