Standing crowned Buddha

Copper alloy with traces of lacquer and gilding
Ayutthaya period, 17th century
H. 114 cm or 45 in



Ayutthaya at this time had one of the most prosperous capitals in the world, with foreign powers clamoring to trade with the ‘Kingdom of Siam’. The tide had turned in the Burmese-Siamese wars, when in 1594 Ayutthaya launched its first offensive invasion of Burma rather than the other way around. The early and mid-17th century also saw one of the longest intermissions between major military campaigns during the three-century war. By 1700, it is estimated that the capital had the world’s largest population, at around one million. During this time, Ayutthaya furthered its vigorous cultural program, culminating in the highest concentration of Buddhist art perhaps anywhere in the world.

The air of Ayutthaya’s prosperity and strength is reflected in this Crowned Buddha, which employs ornament and symmetry to convey majesty and inner fortitude. His overall simplicity of silhouette and abstracted physiognomy are also designed to emphasize the supreme consciousness that the Crowned Buddha embodies in this form, as opposed to prompting the viewer to focus on the mortality of the historical Buddha. The present lot compares favorably to a later example in the National Museum, Bangkok, published in National Museum Volunteers Group, Treasures from the National Museum, Bangkok, 2010, p.47, no.73.

Provenance: Collection of Roberto Del Mastio, Florence, 1980s. Marcel Nies Oriental Art, Antwerp, 19 June 2006.