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London, U.K., SW1Y 6AU
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Buddha and attendants

Stele with Buddha and attendants
Southeast Thailand, Early Mon-Dvaravati period
First half of the 7th century
beige sandstone
Height: 36 cm, 14 ins; Width: 20 cm, 8 ins.

A beige sandstone stele depicting a standing Buddha with hands raised in vitarkamudra (the teaching gesture) and flanked by two attendant bodhisattvas, one wielding a fly-whisk (chowri) and the other a lotus bud and flask; the three figures supported by a Garuda holding lotus stems. 

From the collection of Leonard Unger, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand from 1967 to 1973.

Purchased in the 1960's. 

After the break up of the Funan Empire in the mid-6th century, Dvaravati was one of a number of independent states to emerge. Although the kingdom was centred mainly around the cities of Nakhon Pathom, Lopburi and U Thong, the Dvaravati style of art during the 7th-11th century occurs throughout much of the territory of modern Thailand. 

This extraordinarily rare and delicately crafted relief depicts a scene from the Buddha's life- his descent from Tavatimsa heaven after a three month sojourn during the rainy season where he preached to his mother. There is a tenon protruding from the back to facilitate attachment to a larger architectural relief. Although a number of later examples from the 8th to 9th centuries exist, most notably in Bangkok's National Museum, there appears to be only one other published example from the early Dvaravati period. This example is in a private collection in Bangkok- see fig. 22 in Sanong Wattanavrangkul, 'Outstanding Sculptures of Buddhist and Hindu Gods from Private Collections in Thailand', Bangkok, 1975. 

Itemcode: Catalogue no. 5

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