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This delightful pair of disciple monks, each carved from single blocks of wood, painted with cinnabar-red and then gilded, is notable for their unusually humble countenance as demonstrated by the unusual degree by which each has his head bent forward in submission, reverence and supplication.
Each kneels on a double lotus platform with hands in anjali mudra. Both, like the Buddha, have the elongated earlobes associated with the nobility. Each has his eyes open. The robes of each has carved detail along the borders and the right shoulders are left bare.
The two would have been used in a monastery or similar and would have been placed before a Buddha image.
Though not in conventional pose, the two might represent the Buddha’s two chief disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana, but it is more likely that each is simply a representation of a pious devotee.
The pair was acquired in the UK and almost certainly have been in the UK since colonial times. The pair are in excellent condition and yet with obvious age. They are sculptural and again, particularly beautiful on account of their unusual humble poses.
Fraser-Lu, S., Burmese Crafts: Past and Present, Oxford University Press, 1994.
Isaacs, R., & T.R. Blurton, Burma and the Art of Lacquer, River Books, 2000.
Lowry, J., Burmese Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1974.
McGill, F. (ed.), Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma, 1775-1950, Asian Art Museum, 2009.