Thai / Buddha / Mon style, late 7th-8th centuryThai
Mon style, late 7th-8th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Thai
Creator Name-CRT: Thai
Title: Buddha
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 667
Creation End Date: 799
Creation Date: Mon style, late 7th-8th century
Creation Place: Thailand
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Limestone with traces of gilding
Dimensions: H. 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.075
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The diversity of style and iconography in sculptures produced in mainland Southeast Asia from the 6th through 9th centuries reflects the many regional cultures then thriving in that part of the world. In general, two systems of classification are used to help define the regional styles found here: one relies on political terms such as â??Dvaravatiâ?? and â??pre-Angkor,â?? while the more recent system groups by language and/or ethnic types such as Mon and Khmer. This standing image of a Buddha illustrates the best-known type of sculpture produced in central Thailand from the 6th through 9th centuries, which is often called Dvaravati after the name of a city or kingdom. The term comes from the transliteration of a name in Chinese sources and from a version of this name inscribed on several medals excavated at sites such as Nakhon Pathom and U Thong. The actual geographic boundaries of Dvaravati remain unclear, as does the relationship between the various towns that, because of their similar layouts and architecture, are believed to have been part of this realm. As a result, some scholars have now suggested that sculptures such as this Buddha should be classified as Mon after the language of the people who, from about the 6th through 10th centuries, controlled the regions of Thailand where the sculptures were produced.

This standing Buddha wears a long skirtlike garment covered by a full shawl. Both garments are thin and cling to the body; the most visible distinction between the two pieces of cloth is seen at the bottom hems. Traces of gold leaf, probably applied fairly recently during worship, remain on the hair, face, and upper body. The broad shoulders, tapering body, and downcast eyes derive from Indian art of the Gupta period (c. 320-c. 500). The use of such superhuman physical marks as the curls shaped like snail shells and cranial protuberance (ushnisha) reflects Indian prototypes, while the frontality of the figure, his squarish face, broad lips and nose, and prominent joined eyebrows characterize sculptures of the Mon style. The Mon practiced Theravada Buddhism, which focused on the worship of Shakyamuni, whom this sculpture might represent. Although the hands, now missing, would be crucial to a more precise identification of the figure, it is possible that both were held in the gesture of teaching or appeasement (vitarkamudra), in which the hand is held up with the thumb and forefinger touching. This gesture is often used in early representations of Shakyamuni from Thailand.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 37.
Related Document Description: Chutiwongs, Nandana, and Denise Patry Leidy. Buddha of the Future: An Early Maitreya from Thailand. New York: Asia Society Galleries, distributed by University of Washington Press, 1994, p. 31.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 98, 99.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd--Part II. New York: Asia Society, 1975, pp. 28, 33.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. 'Asian Art of the Rockefellers.' Connaissance des Arts 25 (February 1982), pp. 56-57.
Related Document Description: Leidy, Denise Patry. 'Iconography and Provenance: Buddhist Art from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection.' Orientations (March 1993), p. 55.
Related Document Description: Pal, Pratapaditya, et al. Light of Asia: Buddha Sakyamuni in Asian Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1984, pp. 19-20, 161, 209, 218-19, 221.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 60, 129.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.075
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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