16th century, La Na period
H. 39 cm
Lan Na, also known as Lanna, was once a kingdom in the north of present-day Thailand. Founded in the 13th century, it prospered for several centuries before becoming part of the kingdom of Siam, which is now modern Thailand.
Bronze statuary production flourished in this region between the 13th and 18th centuries, particularly in relation to Buddhist culture. The lost-wax casting technique was popular, enabling the creation of high-quality works. Buddha is represented here in the so-called “noble” attitude (sattvaparyaṅka), with his right leg folded over his left, and only the sole of his foot visible. In countries where the Mahāyāna and esoteric Buddhism flourish, the Blessed One is best represented in the lotus (padmāsana) or diamond (vajrāsana or vajraparyaṅka) attitude. With his right hand hanging down, palm turned inwards, he brushes the ground with his fingertips. “Taking the earth as witness” (bhūmisparśa mudrā) is one of the six canonical gestures (mudrā) made by the Buddha during the main events of his life.
The aesthetic of the Lan Na kingdom is characterised by its elegance and refined details. Here, we particularly appreciate the supple modelling of the body, as well as the characteristic roundness of the face, from which emanates a serene gentleness.
Provenance: Private collection, United States (by repute).