Inventory no.: 4596

Cast Bronze Head of Buddha, Arakan, Burma, 16th century


Cast Bronze Head of Buddha

Arakan, Burma

16th century

height (without stand): 55cm, with stand: 63cm

This spectacular crowned head of the Buddha Sakyamuni shows the Buddha in the Burmese, bejewelled Jambhupati manifestation. Sometimes, these images are also recognised as Amitayus. The style is relatively rare.

This example dates to the 16th century but similar examples have been given much earlier dates – see Somkiart Lopetcharat (2007, p. 280) for an example attributed to the 11th-12th century. However, Gutman (2001, p. 117) relates crowned Arakan Buddha images to images produced in China during the Yongle period of the Ming Dynasty (1403-1424) by Tibetan craftsmen working in Imperial ming workshops. These images were sent as gifts and might have served as prototypes for the Arakan model. In any event, Arakan culture was a syncreatic Tibeto-Burmese culture and its art forms present a blend of such influences.

The image has a rounded, slightly triangular face; arched eyebrows; downcast eyes; a straight nose with flared nostrils; and a mouth fixed in a serene smile. Such features are typical of the best Arakan crowned Buddha images. The leaf-like

kirita or crown is well cast and finely detailed and encloses a tall, highly piled chignon from which a tall, thin spire or jata emerges.

The ears have large, fleshy, elongated lobes from which thick tassels emerge from circular discs and these fall away over the front of the shoulder. Splendid ribbons flare away from behind the ears.


Arts of Asia, May-June 1987 (inside backcover) for a similar, full image. And also lot 77 in Bonhams New York sale: ‘Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art’, March 14, 2016. See


for that example.

The example here has a varying, crystalline, dark-brown patina consistent with significant age. It comes with an elegant, quality, custom-made stand.


Gutman, P., Burma’s Lost Kingdoms: Splendours of Arakan, Weatherhill, 2001.

Somkiart Lopetcharat,

Myanmar Buddha: The Image and its History, Siam International Books Company, 2007.


private collection, UK. The previous owner built up a collection of Buddha images mostly from old UK colonial sources, and did so over a long lifetime.

Inventory no.: 4596