Miniature Gilded Bronze Shrine
Bangkok-Style, Ratanakosin Period, Thailand
This miniature shrine was cast in two pieces that separate into two approximate halves to reveal an inner chamber.
It has a square base, two levels, and a spire made up of a tapering stack of rounded tiers that rise to a tall finial topped with an elongated lotus bud. The base sits on four solid-cast ball feet.
The first level comprises a railing made up of reclining Buddha images with a Buddha seated in
dhyana mudra pose at each corner. Above this, each side has a standing Buddha but each in a different pose: in abhaya mudra; with hands crossed over the chest; with hands crossed over the waist; and holding an alms bowl. Each corner has been cast with a Buddha seated in dhyana mudra pose with a cobra canopy and above these two seated Buddhas have been cast into the wall.
The second tier has been cast first with a frieze of five seated, canopied Buddhas to each side, and then an open balcony in which four Buddhas sit in
dhyana mudra, each beneath an arched window. A prominent and well-cast naga serpent head rears away from the shrine from each corner.
Shrines and miniature stupas of this type were fashionable in Bangkok and the surrounding regions from the late eighteenth century. Generally they housed relics which were placed in small containers inside the body of the shrine. Possibly this shrine was commissioned to be donated to a temple for the purpose of merit making.
Overall, this item is in excellent condition with no cracks, breaks, repairs or losses. It has a splendid architectural and sculptural quality and tremendous presence with its form and patina.
UK art market
McGill, F. (ed.), Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma, 1775-1950, Asian Art Museum, 2009.
Inventory no.: 1152
to see a related example.