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Shan Tai Yai Wooden Buddha

Shan Tai Yai Wooden Buddha

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Shan (Tai Yai) people, 19th century or earlier, Shan States, Burma.

Gorgeous old Buddha statue from Shan States, Burma (Myanmar). Hand-carved in wood, covered with layers of lacquer (thit-si), black sap as filler (thayo), and tinted lacquer with gilding. The bright red colour derives from cinnabar (mercuric sulphide) powder mixed with raw lacquer sap. The Buddha is seated in vajrasana, with his right hand gesturing to the earth in the bhumisparsa mudra position. The posture, known as ”calling the earth to witness”, symbolizes the Buddha's enlightenment under the bodhi tree, when he summoned the earth goddess, Sthavara, to bear witness to his attainment of enlightenment. The right hand, placed upon the right knee in earth-pressing mudra, and complemented by the left hand, which is held flat in the lap in dhyana mudra of meditation, symbolizes the union of method and wisdom, samasara and nirvana. 

The head faces slightly forward, the eyes are half-closed and eyebrows and lines for the nose are all joined as one. The lips turn up slightly at the corners. The prominent elongated earlobes reflect back to the days before his enlightenment, when he wore heavy earrings as the Indian Prince Siddhartha. The head protuberance (ushnisha) is round and even, Wearing a uttarāsanga and monastic close-fitting sanghāti with hem pleated and draped over his left shoulder. His right shoulder has been left bare. Buddha sits on thin waist high tiered, simple throne. Moderate condition. Age-related heavy wear. Worm holes. Gilding and lacquer are partially worn out. Stunning aged patina. Fractures, chip and flaking. Dust, dirt and soot. Size approx. 30,5cm x 11,5cm x 10,5cm. 

Provenance: Dutch private collection

References and further reading:

Visions from the Golden Land: Burma and the Art of Lacquer, Ralph Isaacs & T. Richard Blurton & British Museum, Art Media Resources Ltd, March 1, 2000.

Lacquerware Journeys: The Untold Story of Burmese Lacquer, Than Htun, River Books Press Dist A C, March 16, 2013.

Burmese Lacquerware, Sylvia Fraser-Lu, Orchid Press Publishing Limited, 1 Sept. 2001.

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    The shipment will be prepared in the course of 3-5 days and dispatched via Posti Group Oyj or purchased item(s) can be picked up from our shop during the store's opening hours (Tarkk’ampujankatu 4, 00140, Helsinki, Finland). Within the Finland, all items are shipped via Posti Group Oyj unless otherwise requested. We pack the items carefully and mainly in recycled materials because we want to save nature. You will receive the tracking number for your items by e-mail.

  • Returns

    Returns and exchange will be accepted within fourteen days (14) of receipt at the purchaser’s cost to include freight and packaging. Items must be returned in the same condition as when they were shipped, and will not be accepted if damaged or altered in any way. Please inform us via email ( or by calling +358408408352 before sending. We do not accept returns more than 14 days after delivery.