Lacquered and gilded bronze
15th century, Kingdom of Chiang Sen (14th-15th century)
H. 19 cm or 7 ½ in
In northern Thailand, the city of Chiang Sen, founded in 1327, was the capital of the small vassal Lanna Kingdom with which it shared a varied history. The city was an active centre for bronze-casters who had their own characteristic style. It is thought that Sukhothai casters came north and helped create this particular aesthetic style. That is why it has certain traits of the Sukhothai style, such as the nose here very slightly hooked, eyebrows arching to the bridge of the nose, and hair with tiny juxtaposed curls.
Śākyamuni Buddha is the embodiment of spiritual compassion and this bronze head demonstrates this nature in a very beautiful way. The face is noble, well-balanced and graceful. The eyes with half-closed eyelids underline his serene meditation. The very careful modelling, the perfection of the facial features, the chin, underlined on both sides by an incised line, and the ears with pointed tips bending outwards: all these features are characteristics in common with the art of Lanna Kingdom.
The auspicious beauty folds at the base of the neck are well-preserved and one admire the very beautiful brown patina of bronze, enhanced by the rest of gilding.