Terracotta Buddha Votive Plaque
probably Pagan period, 12th century
height: 11.6cm, width: 8.3cm
This elegant votive tablet or plaque is of fired clay. It is notable for its quality and sharp detail. It was made by pressing wet clay into a metal reverse-mould after which it was fired. It shows the Buddha seated centrally in bhumispharamudra on a high, tiered throne and beneath an ornate arch which frames the Buddha. Two smaller seated Buddha images are on each side.
Such tablets were acquired by Buddhist devotees and left in sacred cave retreats and at shrines as acts of merit, or they were acquired at religious sites as a momento. Within Buddhist Southeast Asia, the practice was most prevalent in Thailand and Burma. The tablets often were made in one location and the carried by pilgrims to be left at a site in another location.
Thousands of these small votive plaques were found in Pagan and most or all are believed to date to around the 12 century. Alternatively it was produced in neighbouring Thailand, but was used in a similar way.
The tablet is in excellent condition.
Fraser-Lu, S., & D.M. Stadtner, Buddhist Art of Myanmar, Asia Society Museum, 2015.
Green, A., & T.R. Blurton (eds.),
Burma: Art and Archaeology, The British Museum Press, 2002.
Green, A., (ed.),
Eclectic Collecting: Art from Burma in the Denison Museum, NUS Press, 2008.
Burmese Buddhist Sculpture: The Johan Moger Collection, White Lotus, 1991.
The Roots of Thai Art, River Books, 2012.
Burmese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1974.
private collection, UK.
Inventory no.: 4688