6616

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Thai Silver-clad Buddha

Thailand
19th-early 20th century

height: 9.7cm, width: 9.4cm, depth: 4.6cm, weight: 188g

Available - Enquire

Provenance

UK art market

This image shows the Buddha seated in the ‘calling the earth to witness’ position (Bhumisparshamudra) on a raised, triangular platform.

It comprises a resin (or similar) base over which very thin sheet silver has been hammered and chased.

The reverse has a thin column onto which the handle for a silver umbrella would have been inserted. This is now lost, as is often the case.

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).

The example here is well modelled. Close inspection shows that the silver cladding has worn away from parts of the face, a product of age and use.

References

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

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

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

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