Seated Buddha

Date: 15th century

Culture: Thailand

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: H. 27 in. (68.6 cm); W. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, The J. H. W. Thompson Foundation Gift and Gifts of friends of Jim Thompson, in his memory, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.131


The history of Thai sculpture from sometime during the thirteenth century, when a distinct national school emerged and broke away from Cambodian and Mon influences, is written in terms of the stylistic development of Buddha images. Specific schools and sub-styles are defined on the basis of relatively slight variations in the prescribed dress, the treatment of the hair, the physiognomy, and so on.

This Buddha is seated on an undecorated pedestal in the cross-legged yogic posture of satvaparyankasana, the right leg placed over the left. His right hand is lowered, long fingers pointing downward in the earth-touching gesture, or bhumisparshamudra. The latter symbolizes Shakyamuni's triumph over the forces of the demon Mara, who attempted to distract him from his quest for enlightenment, a ubiquitous theme in Thai Buddhist art. The Buddha's monastic robe is worn leaving his right shoulder bare, and a long thin section of cloth representing his narrowly folded shawl falls downs from his left shoulder to below his navel terminating in two points.