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1. Gold Image of the Buddha Seated on Three Elephants
Shan, Myanmar
17th century
Gold-lacquered wood
H. 64 cm, W. 27 cm, D. 15.5 cm.
Gold Image of the Buddha Seated on Three Elephants

Gold lacquered wooden image of the Buddha with the right hand in ‘bhumisparsa mudra’ (‘Calling earth to witness enlightenment’) position seated upon three elephants decorated with inset glass and mirrors.

The history of the Shan migration into Myanmar dates back to a very remote period. They came from all of these regions and occupied every plain and hill to produce rice for their family and trade. Most Shans practice Buddhism, and are mainly engaged in agriculture.

Shan Buddha images typically feature triangular faces with a wide forehead, high arched eyebrows, a pointed nose, thin lips, large ears, and short necks. A favored image found in thousands of examples of Myanmar sculpture especially during the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) is that of a seated Buddha in the position of calling the earth to witness.

The Elephant is a sacred animal in Buddhist culture. If a monarch had many elephants he was considered prosperous. The elephants guard Buddha and the temples.


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