A standing crowned wooden Buddha, Burma, Pagan period, 13th/14th century
Lot 133
A standing crowned wooden Buddha, Burma, Pagan period, 13th/14th century
Sold for US$ 80,500 inc. premium

Lot Details
A standing crowned wooden Buddha,
A standing crowned wooden Buddha,
Burma, Pagan period, 13th/14th century
Wearing a pointed bud-and-leaf crown (kirita) enclosing high coiled chignons, adorned with elaborate ear plugs and a pendant leaf torque, the right hand stiffly cast downwards in varada mudra while the left hand is turned inwards against the chest clasping the hem of his diaphanous robe.
73 in. (185.4 cm) high

Footnotes

  • The eleventh to thirteenth centuries saw a spectacular flowering at the Burmese temple city of Pagan. Buddhist images in paint, metal, stone, and wood, such as the present example, were created to embellish the city's numerous brick temples. Only a small group of figures from Pagan relating to this leaf-crowned Buddha survive.

    Its slender arms and hands emphasize the thin, almost abstract rendering of Buddha's body. The lowered hand makes an iconic gesture indicating the granting of a wish, while the raised hand holds the end of his robe or perhaps a sacred text. In marked contrast to the unornamented body, the Buddha's jeweled collar, earrings, tall coiffure, and foliate crown give the image a regal splendour that pervades Southeast Asian representations of the Buddha.

    While images of the historical Shakyamuni usually depict a mendicant clad in a simple monastic robe, this figure's elaborate ornamentation may indicate that it is an idealized portrait of deceased royalty. The kings of Pagan left inscriptions that reveal their expectations of rebirth as Buddhas in the Buddhist heavens.

    Compare with two examples presently on view in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992.382 and 1986.207 (see John O'Neil (ed.), A Decade of Collecting, 1984-1993: Friends of Asian Art Gifts, New York, 1993, p. 53) and another in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.84.183 (see Lorna Price, Masterpieces from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1988, no. 102). For other related examples see Zwalf, Buddhism: Art and Faith, London, 1985, no. 225 and Sotheby's, New York, September 19, 1996, lot 81.

    Provenance:
    Private Japanese Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, September 16 & 17, 1998, lot 50
    Private American Collection
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