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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Myanmar (Burma) : Shan Marble Sculpture of the Seated Buddha
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Shan Marble Sculpture of the Seated Buddha - X.0227
Origin: Myanmar
Circa: 18 th Century AD
Dimensions: 30.25" (76.8cm) high x 18.125" (46.0cm) wide
Collection: Asian
Medium: Marble

Additional Information: Asia Art (Thailand) 2002

Location: United States
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The Shan people are a distinct ethnic group that 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 and customs are closely related to the Thai and Laotians their neighbors to the south and east. In the 19th Century, long after their power had eroded, they were distributed among thirty petty states that paid tribute first to the Burman King, then to the British. This arrangement remained more or less in tact until 1922 when the Federated Shan States were joined together. In 1947, a unified Shan States was created under the Burmese Constitution. Although much of their autonomy has been relinquished to the central government, the Shan retain their unique cultural identity and ethnic heritage.

This gorgeous marble Buddha is seated in the dhyanasana position on a raised base decorated with stylized lotus petals. With his hands, the Buddha forms the bhumisparsa mudra, which can be literally translated as the “gesture of touching the earth” in which the Buddha touches the ground in order to call on the earth to witness his enlightenment. His monastic robes are indicated by delicately incised lines that delineate the borders of the fabric. Calm and serene, he looks downwards with half closed eyes. His pupils have been painted in and some other remnants of the original polychrome that once decorated the work still survive. An ushnisha crowns his head, the shape of which recalls Burmese pagodas, the main houses of Buddhist worship. This bump is symbolic of the Buddha’s enlightened wisdom and cosmic openness. This marble sculpture is a splendid example of the Shan style that captures the Buddha in all his meditative glory.
- (X.0227)


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