Large Burmese Alabaster Standing Buddha

11787. Large Burmese Alabaster Standing Buddha

Shan State, Circa 18th to 19th Century AD.

The most important aspect of the iconography of the Buddha is the hand gestures, known as mudras. These positions have specific meanings which are known throughout the Buddhist world.

The range of postures and gestures in which the Buddha is depicted, evolved over the first millennium of the Buddhist era (roughly 500 BCE to 500 CE), mainly in India. As Buddhism spread from India to other countries, such as Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma), variations in the depiction of the Buddha evolved.

This Burmese Large Alabaster Standing Buddha is made from a majestic translucent alabaster stone and is delicately carved. His hand gesture, with one hand over the heart, and one hand extended at the hip, is what scholars call the “magnanimous” gesture.

This “magnanimous” gesture symbolizes a joyous mixture of open-hearted giving and receiving, in which the Buddha is open to both giving and receiving, with no strings attached.

He exhibits very fine pleasing facial features with upturned grin, almond eyes, elongated ears and tightly-knotted hairdo with central bun or usnisa atop his head. This very harmoniously composed Buddha truly glows when exposed to sunlight.

Intact with some minor wear and surface abrasions.

Size: 47 inches H; 54-1/2 inches inset into a black wood block base.
Similar examples in Woodward, The Sacred Sculpture of Thailand.


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