This unusual Buddha image shows distinct Khmer influence and almost certainly is from north-eastern Thailand. It is of cast silver that has then been chiselled and engraved.
The image is in the ‘calling-the-earth-to-witness’ pose (bhumisparsha mudra). It has broad shoulders and a wide chest, over-sized feet but elongated, thin arms. The face is elongated but full and the ears have elongated lobes that do not reach the shoulders.
The right shoulder is covered and the left is left exposed by the robes. A robe or sash that covers the torso. The hair of the Buddha is in neat ‘peppercorn’ rows with a crenulated hairline, and the head is surmounted by a three-tiered usnisha.
The ‘calling-the-earth-to-witness’ pose, refers to the occasion when the Buddha, seated in meditation under the Bodhi tree on the evening before his enlightenment, is challenged by the demon Mara to prove that he had given alms. The Buddha touched the ground with his right hand and asked the earth to bear witness to his past good deeds (Fraser-Lu & Stadtner, 2015, p. 152).
The surface of the image is much wear and abrasions visible under magnification. The image is mounted on a custom-made stand.
Fraser-Lu, S., & D.M. Stadtner, Buddhist Art of Myanmar, Asia Society Museum, 2015.
Somkiart Lopetcharat, Lopburi and Thavaravadi Sculptures in Thailand, Siam International Book Company, 2015.
Sukhasvasti, S., South and Southeast Asian Sculpture from a Private Collection, Rian Boon Press, 2003.
Tan, H. et al., Enlightened Ways: The Many Streams of Buddhist Art in Thailand, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2012.