Buddha with an Aureole
Item No. 3691
19th Century, Buddhist, Burma
Wood with Gilt
66" x 32" x 13"
( 167.64 x 81.28 x 33.02 cm)
(H x W x D)
This Buddha represents the work of a master carver and, given its size and excellent workmanship, it must have been made for an important temple, monastery or shrine. The Buddha sits in bhumisparsa (earth witnessing) mudra, the most popular most often used mudra in Burma. The image reflects the characteristics of Mandalay style Buddhas. The characteristics of the Mandalay style found in this Buddha are: The face is round with finely rounded eyebrows that are greatly separated from his small down-cast eyes; the nose is long and pointed and ends in a small bow-shaped slightly smiling mouth; the large ears are placed well back on the face and curve outwards as they touch the shoulders; a small fillet band separates the hairline from the face; and the head and prominent ushnisha (cranial protuberance indicating a special spiritual and wise being) are covered by small blunt beaded curls. The ushnisha is topped by a small bulbous finial, and there are three folds at the neck. The Buddha wears a plain monk's robe and displays a bare right shoulder with an unadorned lappet over his left shoulder ending just above his hand.
The Buddha sits on an elaborate double waisted throne which is placed atop a pedestal decorated with floral patterns. The throne has two rows of carved lotus petals, the bottom ones pointed down and the top pointed towards the Buddha. The Buddha is framed by an elaborate aureole in a shape that evokes the flames of Buddhism which symbolize his divine nature and the divine light emanating from his being. The top of the aureole and sides of the throne are pointed upwards in the form of a precious jewel.
The carving is fashioned to have the viewer's eyes drawn to the beautifully carved and softly rounded face in an effort to create an image that displays incredible calm and well being and that conveys both the deep spirituality and the greatness of the Buddha. Large and fine carvings like this one rarely appear in the West.
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