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A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF BUDDHA NORTHERN THAILAND, LAN NA KINGDOM, CIRCA 1470-1503 image 1
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF BUDDHA NORTHERN THAILAND, LAN NA KINGDOM, CIRCA 1470-1503 image 2
Thumbnail of A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF BUDDHA NORTHERN THAILAND, LAN NA KINGDOM, CIRCA 1470-1503 image 1
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Lot 530
A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF BUDDHA
NORTHERN THAILAND, LAN NA KINGDOM, CIRCA 1470-1503
21 March 2023, 18:00 EDT
New York

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A COPPER ALLOY FIGURE OF BUDDHA

NORTHERN THAILAND, LAN NA KINGDOM, CIRCA 1470-1503
20 1/2 in. (52 cm) high

Footnotes

泰國北部 蘭納王朝 約1470-1503年 佛陀銅像

This bronze sculpture of the Buddha is a classic example of a new iconic mode, established during the Lan Na Kingdom's golden age under King Tilok (r. 1441-87), that proliferated under King Mueang Kaeo (r.1495-1525). Variously termed 'Early Chiang Saen', 'Phra Singh', or 'Sihing' by different scholars (the latter two meaning 'lion'), this type of Buddha image is among Thailand's most sensuous, celebrated for its robust, fleshier build and expressive poise.

The Sihing type depicts the Buddha seated with his right hand in bhumisparsha mudra, commemorating his Victory over Mara. A knob-like finial (perhaps a lotus bud or gem) surmounts the sage's cranial protuberance. His hair is arranged into prominent snail-shell curls. His face is round and his impressive physique features broad shoulders, a chest fully inflated with prana (yogic breath), and the soles of both feet pointed upward in the double-lotus posture. The hem of Buddha's robe is draped high above the left breast and has a fishtail end. Finally, lotus petals and stamens are represented underneath him, and the base has a polygonal shape, often with cutout panels, as it does here. For an in-depth stylistic discussion and numerous comparable examples, see Stratton, Buddhist Sculpture of Northern Thailand, 2004, pp. 163-79, figs. 7.32-7.58.

Ceasing to represent the Buddha in a Khmer manner by the 13th century, the emergent Thai kingdoms of Sukhothai and Lan Na developed their own emblematic Buddha images. Coded within Lan Na's Sihing type is an intriguing multiculturalism, with a physique and iconography drawn from Indian Gupta and Pala prototypes as they filtered through Pagan and Sri Lanka, and the lobed shape of the hexagonal base's cutouts deriving from the repertory of Chinese motifs. The Sihing image's dating has been long debated, but numerous examples are dated by inscription to the last quarter of the 15th century, and Woodward, Jr. suggests that 1470-1503, a period bookended by the earliest and one of the later known dated images, provides the range in which most of the uninscribed yet more beautifully-made sculptures can be placed (Woodward, Jr., The Sacred Sculpture of Thailand, 1997, p. 210).

Provenance:
Sotheby's, New York, 21 & 22 March 1990, lot 388
A Distinguished Private European Collection

Additional information