Asian Antiques by Silk Road

Large Royal Buddha in Arakan Style


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Sculpture: Pre 1910: Item # 880614

Please refer to our stock # 11-06 when inquiring.
Silk Road Gallery
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Branford, Connecticut 06405, USA
(203) 208-0771

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This large dramatic sculpture of a royal Buddha in classic Arakan style is two feet tall and crowned with curled open-work flanges flanking five intricately rendered leaf-covered spires. The practice of outfitting Buddha images in such regal style is said to have started in the Arakan Kingdom that flourished from 1287 to 1752 AD, when it became part of Burma. According to legend, an Arakan king named Jambupati (or Jambuphati) was causing suffering due to his excessive arrogance and pride. In order to humble him, Buddha images were produced wearing his finery and, subsequently, crowned figures became a way to present the Buddha on equal footing with royalty. The Arakan ploy worked, according to the story, and King Jambupati later adopted Buddhist ways. Images of the Buddha in Arakan finery have been produced in Burma down through the centuries. This carving of dense Burmese teak has all the Arakan elements, with long earrings that hang forward and settle next to a necklace carved in high relief. Crossed over the chest is a sal-we, a sign of lofty rank. The figure is further adorned with arm bands, wrist cuffs and ankle bands. The finely arched eyebrows, heavily lidded, downcast eyes and straight nose over a very slightly upturned mouth are Arakanese features, as is the waisted double lotus throne. The lotus bud on top of the removable finial also is typical, although the finial itself is larger than those we have seen on most Arakan figures. With the filial removed, the carving takes on a quite different look (see photo enlargement # 12). This piece is in excellent condition. Dimensions: height 24” (61 cm), width 9 ½” (24 cm), depth 7” (18 cm). SEE MORE ITEMS IN OUR COLLECTION AT WWW.SILKROAD1.COM