The Spiritual world: Sculptures of gods and goddesses in Thailand

 This exhibit is meant to emphasize the importance of the Buddha sculptural work that is seen through out Asia and specifically in Thailand. Non-Western cultures use their deities in most all of their art and most everything they create is influenced by their deities. Thai art is no different from their architecture to their clothing and sculpture they are always portray their idea of a deity, which is a strongly Indian influenced Buddha, in their work.                      Each of my pieces helps reinforce the very typical style of a sculpted buddha in Thai art. Most of the cast in bronze. Each possessing the very typical spiral curls expected of the Buddha, having elongated earlobes to show his position that once was being a prince and several other very typical things found in a Buddha piece. They all exhibit this very typical style for Buddhas and the Thai traits being the flaming head pieces and calm faces they posses.                                                                         They all exhibit all the traits that the Thai culture pulled from the stories and beliefs that the Indians shared with them during their trades. They do not hold the same style as the Buddhas from China because Thailand is closer in coordinates with India. This however is why I love the sculpture work because even though they are taken form another countries ideology they are very much different from the Indian style. They embellish a little than average. I overall enjoy this gallery and really hope you will as well. Each of these pieces were carefully chosen so that you could see some different styles within the Thai arts as well as see some of the fine details that go into their work.                                                                         References:                                                                 "Thai Buddhist Sculpture - Boundless Open Textbook." Boundless. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.                                                                 "Collection." Head of Buddha, (14th Century). N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Before reaching enlightenment – the meditating Buddha was assaulted by the forces of Mara, a demon who embodies both death and the attachments that trap living beings in a cycle of worldly suffering. The Buddha touched the earth with his right hand to watch his moment of victory and his enlightenment. "Buddha at the Moment of Victory." Artwork of the Day RSS. N.p., n.d. Web.
This image of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, is in the U-Thong style of fourteenth-century Thailand. The style was apparently named after Prince U Thong, the first king of the Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya. U Thong reigned as Ramathibodi I from 1351 to 1369, and actively propagated Theravada Buddhism as the state religion. This sculpture represents a move away from the Khmer-influenced Mahayana traditions of the Lopburi period towards a focus on the teachings of the earthly Buddha, Shakyamuni or Gautama. The Buddha wears an unadorned monk’s robe, folded across the left shoulder. His right hand extends to the ground in the earth-touching gesture (bhumisparsha mudra), signifying the Buddha calling on the earth to witness his attainment of enlightenment. His legs are crossed, with only the sole of the right foot visible. With a serene facial expression, the Buddha is shown with the pronounced cranial bump, capped with a flame-like jewel, characteristic of Thai Buddhist art. For Theravada Buddhists, this type of image serves as a focus for contemplation of the dharma, or Buddha’s teachings. "| Buddha Calling the Earth to Witness." | Buddha Calling the Earth to Witness. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
When the Buddhists of ancient Thailand adopted the standing stone Buddha of India as a primary iconic type, the pose was altered (in Thailand, both hands - here broken - perform a teaching gesture), and the canons of Indian beauty lost their firm hold in a drive to achieve an expression of serenity. "Standing Buddha." Artwork of the Day RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
In the Bangkok period, the patronage and glorification of Buddhism continued as the principal theme of the arts. This seated gilt Buddha sheltering under the seven headed 'naga' is typical of the showy glitter cherished at this time. Its iconography relates to the life story of the Historical Buddha, Shakyamuni: in the fifth week of the seven weeks he meditated after attaining Enlightenment, when he was seated at the edge of Lake Muchalinda, a terrible storm arose, causing the waters of the lake to rise. Seeing that Buddha was lost in meditation, the serpent ('naga') king Muchalinda slipped his coils under Buddha's body, lifting him above the flood. At the same time, he spread the hoods of his seven heads to shelter him. This image is found throughout Southeast Asia. ‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.332 © 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales
By the time Buddhism reached Thailand, its images were well defined and governed by prescribed canons. In an absorbing story of permutation and evolution, Thai sculptors of the Sukhothai period (1200-1400) created a transcendental and unique statement about the spirituality of Buddha within the canonical framework. The 32 major and 80 minor anatomical characteristics necessary to create a true Buddha image include the cranial protuberance symbolic of Buddha's supernatural wisdom; the elongated earlobes signifying his princely birth; the spiral curls symbolic of his great renunciation of cutting off his princely locks; a nose like a parrot's beak; and rounded chin like a lime or mango stone. The high flame finial which would have been attached to the crown of this figure, an innovation adopted from Sri Lanka, but now synonymous with the classic Thai style, is the Fire of Knowledge that burns away selfhood, ignorance and suffering. Sukhothai sculptors preferred bronze as their medium and achieved their greatest triumphs with it. Motivated by the belief that the more perfect the statue the stronger its power, they were driven to create such distillations of condensed spirituality as that captured here. "Collection." Head of Buddha, (14th Century). N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
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