Skip to content

Collection

An image of Figure of the Buddha seated on a high ornate base, with his right hand in the earth-touching gesture ('bhumisparsha mudra') by
Alternate image of Figure of the Buddha seated on a high ornate base, with his right hand in the earth-touching gesture ('bhumisparsha mudra') by

Laos

Title
Figure of the Buddha seated on a high ornate base, with his right hand in the earth-touching gesture ('bhumisparsha mudra')
Place of origin
Laos
Year
circa 16th century
Media category
Sculpture
Materials used
bronze
Dimensions

22.0 x 11.0 x 7.5 cm

Credit
Gift of Dr Pratapaditya Pal 2003
Accession number
440.2003
Location
Not on display
Further information

This Lao image combines unusual and common features. In particular, the squashed facial features of the image, with its lumpy nose, arched eyebrows meeting above the nose, thin eyes, and the slightly smiling slit mouth above a pointy chin are all regular features of Lao Buddha images. The stepped head, covered with large hair curls is also typical. The knot of hair on top of the Buddha’s head, however, is less common, and usually, the 'ushnisha' (the cranial bump) is topped by a flame shape. This may be reminiscent of the headdresses of early images that originated in India, which were popular in Burma, a kingdom that had a strong presence in northern Southeast Asia and controlled Laos briefly during the sixteenth century. The exaggeratedly high pedestal base is typical of the seats that Lao Buddhas sit upon. While the relief decoration here is reminiscent of that found on some Southeast Asian lacquered wood and also resembles patterning on Lao textiles, it is not a decoration often used on the thrones of Buddha images.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, February 2011.