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Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

Lao standing Buddha
Laos, From the vicinity of Vientiane
18th-19th c.
Gilded and lacquered teakwood
H. (EXCLUDING TANG). 201 cm, 79 ins

An immensely large, exquisitely sculpted gilded and lacquered teakwood figure of a standing Buddha atop a square pedestal, the raised usnisha topped by a flame finial, the face with a tranquil expression; both arms pendant by his sides in the ‘calling for rain’ posture, wearing a slightly flaring dhoti secured with an ornate belt and with an elaborate vertical sash at the front.

Laotian sculpture is rare, especially when it is sculpted in friable materials like wood, which often falls victim to humidity or to insects. The Laotian kingdom of Lan Xang or Lan Chang was established during the 14th century and was ruled by Thais. Its northern capital of Luang Prabang was subjected to cultural influences from the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, while its southern capital, Vientiane, absorbed Khmer and Ayutthaya (Thai) motifs. For two related examples, one with a similarly ornate belt, please see pages 244 and 248 in S. Lopetcharat, Lao Buddha: The Image and Its History, Bangkok: Siam International Book Company, 2000.

all text & images © Jonathan Tucker Antonia Tozer Asian Art

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