Enquiry about object: 5239

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Chinese Lacquered, Carved Wooden Image Possibly of Pi Lu Zhe Nafo (Vairocana)

Malaya or China
circa 1900

height: 28cm, width: 13cm, depth: 12.2cm



collected by Alwyn Sidney Haynes (1878-1963), and thence by descent. Haynes was a colonial administrator in Malaya and the Straits Settlements between 1901 and 1934. He held many posts including Acting British Resident, Pahang (1924); British Resident, Perak (1925); British Advisor, Kedah (1925); British Advisor, Kelantan (1930); and Acting Colonial Administrator, Straits Settlements (1933), after which he retired and returned to England, and lived near Stratford-upon-Avon, and then in Leamington Spa. Haynes loaned some of the items he collected in Malaya to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford in 1939. He was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1950.

This image is most probably of Pi Lu Zhe Nafo, also known as Vairocana, or the Dharma Body of the historical Buddha.

It has been carved from a single piece of wood other than the hat finial, and has been lacquered and gilded.

The image sits cross-legged and with hand laying atop one another on the lap. The figure’s robes fall gracefully to the floor, in a naturalistic manner.

The image might have been carved in the Chinese communities of Singapore of the Malay Peninsula or was imported to those communities from China.

Possibly, something rested on the figures hands. But otherwise, it is in excellent condition.


Stevens, K., Chinese Gods: The Unseen World of Spirits and Demons, Collins & Brown, 1997.

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