Standing Buddha and tabernacle

Standing equipoise over a plinth, the crowned Buddha raises both hands in abhayamudra, his ankle-length robe falling to the sides. He is enshrined within a flaming aureole with naga terminates, a bodhi tree overhead laced with serpentine vines. Cast in five parts: Buddha, base, plinth with frieze, backplate, Bodhi tree finial. With a green patina overall.

Historical period(s)
Lopburi period, 12th-13th century
Medium
Bronze
Style
Angkor Wat style
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 49 x 17.6 x 11.5 cm (19 5/16 x 6 15/16 x 4 1/2 in)
Geography
Thailand
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1976.11a-e
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Sculpture
Type

Buddhist sculpture

Keywords
abhaya mudra, bodhi tree, Buddha, Buddhism, casting, Lopburi period (900 - 1300), Thailand, WWII-era provenance
Provenance

By 1975-1976
Peter Marks Works of Art, New York method of acquisition unknown [1]

From 1976
Freer Gallery of Art, purchase from Peter Marks Works of Art, New York [2]

Notes:

[1] Peter Marks Works of Art presented the sculpture to the Freer Gallery of Art for consideration in January 1975, see letter from Peter Marks of Peter Marks Works of Art to Dr. Harold P. Stern of the Freer Gallery of Art, February 9, 1975, copy in object file.

[2] Peter Marks Works of Art presented the object to the Freer Gallery in 1975, however the Gallery did not purchase it until December 1976. Before the purchase, the Gallery corresponded with the Royal Thai Fine Arts Department in Bangkok, for advice on this acquisition. The Chief of the Division of National Museums, Chira Chongkol thanked the Gallery for informing the Thai government of this possible purchase but reported that they did not know "how or when the piece was taken out of the country." They also confirmed that the sculpture was "not from [their] museum collection." See letter from Chira Chongkol, Division of National Museums to Mr. Thomas Lawton, Freer Gallery of Art, December 30, 1975, copy in object file. The Freer Gallery of Art finalized the purchase of the sculpture on December 8, 1976, see annotated receipt from Peter Marks Works of Art to Freer Gallery of Art, December 1, 1976, copy in object file.

Research Completed March 17, 2022

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Peter Marks Works of Art, Inc. active 1960-2002

Description

Standing equipoise over a plinth, the crowned Buddha raises both hands in abhayamudra, his ankle-length robe falling to the sides. He is enshrined within a flaming aureole with naga terminates, a bodhi tree overhead laced with serpentine vines. Cast in five parts: Buddha, base, plinth with frieze, backplate, Bodhi tree finial. With a green patina overall.

Label

In Thailand, artists elongated the ideal Indian body to create languidly slim Buddhas, here emphasized by an equally attenuated shrine. Raising both hands in the "fear not" gesture, the Buddha stands beneath the bodhi (enlightenment) tree under which he first attained omniscience. Although most historical Buddhas are simply clad in monks' robes, this crowned and jeweled manifestation of the Buddha represents cosmic power. On a more worldly level, the adornment alludes to the Khmer emperors (of Cambodia and part of Thailand, ca. 9th-13th century), who promoted their identification with the Buddha and Hindu gods.

Published References
  • Paths to Perfection, Buddhist Art at the Freer/Sackler. Washington. pp. 54-55.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 85, p. 110.
Collection Area(s)
Southeast Asian Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
F|S Southeast Asia
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