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1. Buddha head
13th-14th century, Lopburi period
H. 35 cm
Buddha head

This beautiful sandstone piece from Thailand represents the Buddha in his Muchalinda form. 35 centimeters high, this piece is delicately sculpted with many engraved details like the face with a very serene expression of the Buddha. The closed eyes symbolize the calm and deep meditation in which the Great Man is immersed. He also wears a gentle and benevolent smile, synonymous with his great wisdom. The wavy hair is in a very good state of preservation, and allows us to see perfectly the uṣṇīṣa, or cranial protuberance symbolizing the accomplishment in confidence as the Buddha’s spiritual guide.

This sandstone work shows us an important episode in the life of Buddha Sakyamuni. Meditating, the Buddha was sitting by a lake in Bodh-Gaya. After a violent storm broke out, the rain caused the water in the lake to rise dangerously. Lost in his meditation, the Buddha was about to be submerged. The cobra Muchalinda, king of the Naga, who inhabited the waters, protected and saved the Buddha by surrounding him with his fan-shaped rings. It is said that he protected the Buddha for seven days and seven nights.

The stylized features of the Buddha are a fine example of Khmer production of the time, the broad forehead, the fine nose but with slightly flared nostrils, the fleshy mouth stretched into a benevolent smile. This piece dates from the 13th century and is characteristic of the production of Lopburi. Indeed, Lopburi is a historical city in Thailand, which was an important center of Khmer culture during the medieval period. It was also an important commercial center for the trade routes that crossed the region, linking the Khmer and Siam empires. Lopburi was an important place of political and military power, and many historical and religious monuments dating back to the Khmer period were built there, such as the temples of Prang Sam Yod and San Phra Kan. The city was also used by the Siamese kings as a summer residence, and continued to be an important center for culture and administration during the Ayutthaya period.

Provenance: Vérité Collection, France

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