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Early Ayutthaya/U-Thong Style Gold Buddha
Ayutthaya, Thailand
mid-14th century

height: 17.5cm, width: 6.5cm, weight: 42.75g

This fine, museum-quality, early example of a gold Buddha plaque is larger than most and with better defined and crisper features than is usual. The plaque if
of thick, hammered solid gold sheet and the gold content tests at higher than 18 carats.

The image is from Ayutthaya, Thailand's former capital before it was sacked by the Burmese in the 18th century and most probably was made to be placed in
the brick foundations of a sacred building in the city. The city was founded around 1350 - about when this plaque dates to. The building program associated
with the new city would have seen a number of these dedicatory plaques commissioned.

The Buddha is shown standing, with feet jutting out towards the viewer and with elongated arms and realistically flowing robes. The image has many of the
classical features of a U-Thong or early Ayutthaya period Buddha - the halo has a pointed projection; the hair curls are small and densely packed; the unisha
is low and relatively broad; the face is square with a realistic cleft chin; the eyes are half-closed and contemplative; the eyebrows are arched; the mouth is
wide; the neck is short and thick; the body is well proportioned; the groove on the elongated earlobes is open and the lobes almost reach the shoulders; the
outline of the undergarment belt is clearly visible; the robes cover both shoulders, which is typical for standing depictions of the Buddha of this period.

A related plaque attributed to mid-14th century Wat Ratchaburana at Ayutthaya is in Thailand's Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, Ayutthaya (see
Lopetcharat, 2015, p. 224 for an illustration). Slightly earlier gold plaques, dating to the 13th century and in the National Museum in Bangkok, are illustrated in
Krairiksh (2012, p. 369).

The plaque is in a robust, stable condition. There is age-related light denting here and there.

Krairiksh, P., The Roots of Thai Art, River Books, 2012.
Lopetcharat, S.,
Lopburi and Thavaravadi Sculptures in Thailand, Siam International Book Company, 2015.

Provenance: Acquired in Bangkok prior to World War One by an English traveller, and thence by descent; private UK collection.

Inventory no.: 4083

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The reverse.
From: Lopetcharat, S., Lopburi and Thavaravadi Sculptures in Thailand, Siam International Book Company, 2015.
The ruins at Ayutthaya, photographed in January 2018.