The Shan people are a distinct ethnic group
today constitute Myanmar’s largest minority
group. However, from the 13th until the 16th
Century, they dominated most of the country.
They are largely Buddhist, and their language
customs are closely related to the Thai and
Laotians, their neighbors to the south and
In the 19th Century, long after their power
eroded, they were distributed among thirty
states that paid tribute first to the Burmese
then to the British. This arrangement
more or less in tact until 1922 when the
Federated Shan States were joined together.
1947, a unified Shan States was created
the Burmese Constitution. Although much of
their autonomy has been relinquished to the
central government, the Shan retain their
cultural identity and ethnic heritage.
The historical figure, Buddha Gautama
Sakyamuni is the Buddha of compassion
having achieved the highest evolutionary
perfection, turns suffering into happiness for
living beings. Born around 560 B.C.
between the hills of south Nepal and the
river, his father was a Raja who ruled over
northeastern province of India, the district
including the holy Ganges River. The young
prince was married to Yashoda when he was
about 17 years old and together they had a
named Rahula. At the age of 29, he left his
luxury, as he felt compelled to purify his
and make it an instrument of the mind by
himself of earthly impulses and temptations.
The decoration adorned upon this gilt
Buddha reveals its sacred nature. His
looking eyes depict his serene state of being,
further reinforced by his sweet smile. He also
features a large pointed ushnisa, or bump, at
top of his head that symbolizes his divine
enlightenment. The shape of this bump has
modeled after a typical Burmese stupa, the
standard of religious architecture for
Buddhists. The majority of the gilding that
covered this work remains intact. The
appearance associated with the Buddha
characterizes him partly as a noble human
and ideal ruler and partly as superhuman.
elegance and spirituality of the Buddha is
conceived in this work.