6625

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    Silver Seated Buddha

    Thailand or Sri Lanka
    18th-19th century

    height: 6cm, width: 5.6cm, depth: 2.8cm, weight: 177g

    Available - Enquire

    Provenance

    private collection, London.

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    This small image shows the Buddha seated in the Dhyana mudra or meditative position, with legs crossed and the hands resting atop one another on the lap.

    It is of solid cast silver alloy with broad shoulders and a square face, a flat usnisha (cranial protuberance), a peppercorn hairstyle (which are arranged in concentric circles on the back of the head), the elongated earlobes of a prince, and chest sash, which exposes a prominent right nipple.

    The image is either from Sri Lanka or Thailand.

    Solid-cast silver Buddha images are relatively rare in Southeast Asia.

    Such images were commissioned by worshippers and given to monasteries and significant Thai temples (wats) as acts of merit. No contemporary images of the Buddha have survived but the rendering of the Buddha, an essentially spiritual being, as a visible manifestation, provides a tool for worshippers thereby making the abstract concrete (Bromberg, 2019, p. 171).

    Some aspects of the image suggest Sri Lankan provenance. The usnisha would typically be higher but it seems worn down. Immediate past provenance suggests that it was collected in Thailand but that does not preclude it having been produced in Sri Lanka and carried back to Thailand by pilgrims.

    The example here is in fine condition and with obvious age.

    References

    Bromberg, P., Thai Silver and Nielloware, River Books, 2019.

    McGill, F., San Francisco, pers. comm.

    Naengnoi Punjabhan, Silverware in Thailand, Rerngrom Publishing, 1991.

    Warren, W., The Prasart Museum: Treasures of Thailand, Ibis Books, 1990.

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