A royal Buddha, with right thumb and forefinger forming a circle, the vitarka mudra, sits in lotus position on a high double lotus throne. The vitarka gesture, sign of the Buddhist wheel of law, signifies intellectual discussion of philosophy and doctrine. This is one of several variations of the mudra, also conveyed with the circle sign given by the hand raised with palm outward, or the hand palm up resting in the lap. This figure, carved of dense Burmese teak wood, is attired in the distinctive style of the ancient Arakan Kingdom, wearing an eight-spired crown centered with a high finial. Wing-like side flanges that are wider than the Buddha’s shoulders spring outward from behind each ear. Epalets and a sal-we chest ornament further define this piece as a jambuphati, or royal, Buddha, an image with the same finery as that worn by Arakanese kings. Such royal portrayals of the Buddha, in stark contrast to more often seen humble figures, were first created during the mid Ava Period (1287-1782) when sculptors began adding the accoutrements in order to present the Buddha as an equal to royalty. Artisans throughout Southeast Asian Buddhist countries continue to include such crowned Buddha images in their repertoire. The ornamentation on this carved figure is created with thayo, lacquer thickened with bone ash. A subtle red and gold glow is added to the beautifully executed detailing with the appplication of gilding and a dark red lacquer. On the waisted lotus throne, 28 lotus petals are outlined with double rows of gilded beading. The red lacquer also is used to accentuate the finely carved face with its prominent wide brow, downcast eyes and slightly upturned mouth. This Buddha is from the Shan people who are a minority in Burma but share with the majority Burman population their devout Buddhist faith. It is from the mid to late 20th century and is in excellent condition. Dimensions: height 15 ½” (39.4 cm), width 8 ½” (21.5), depth 5” (12.3 cm).