Thai Bronze Buddha head

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by 2manybooks, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I know this is not "Tribal", but it seems to be the forum where Asian arts often end up. That said....

    I have seen quite similar examples of disembodied heads on ebay, such as this (with an interesting story):
    I wanted to ask if anyone (@Any Jewelry, et al) knows if these are being mass produced in Thailand for tourists, or might it have actually been taken from a larger statue. I have mixed feelings either way. The head itself is about 4 3/4" / 11.5 cm high. (I am also posting a Chinese gilded iron head of Guanyin, with basically the same question.) Thanks for your info and input. Here is the Thai Buddha:
    Thai Bronze Buddha head 1 (403x640).jpg Thai Bronze Buddha head 4 (480x640).jpg Thai Bronze Buddha head 3 (368x640).jpg Thai Bronze Buddha head 2 (373x640).jpg
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
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  2. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    Thai Buddha Heads
    Buddha heads or Buddha head statues in Thailand are the three dimensional wood, clay, stone or metal cast images of the head of the Buddha. There are such figures in all the regions where Buddhism is practiced, the basic composition, position and appearance of the images different vastly from country to country. The Buddha heads statues in Thailand recall specific meanings of Buddha's teachings and travels that are familiar to the Buddhist according to the Buddha heads with specific rules.

    As the Buddha heads are not the natural representations or depictions of what the historical Buddha, Gautam Buddha looked like, the Buddha heads are taken as the representation of an ideal reality of the Buddha and that every Buddha heads stands at the end of a succession of the images reaching back to the Buddha himself. The Thai Buddha heads are popular all over the world not only for their uniqueness but also the craftsmanship involved during the creation of the Buddha heads.

    Buddha Head entwined in a tree
    One of the most popular Thai Buddha heads in the world is Buddha Head in Tree Roots, Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya.

    • [​IMG]
    This iconic image is very popular as people may see time and again the photograph of the Buddha head on post cards and in guide-books. This particular Buddha head is entwined within the roots of a tree and is one of the most recognizable images from Thailand. The Buddha head is located at Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya. The ancient temple in the location is believed to have been built around 14th century but was destroyed and reduced to ruins in 1767 during the invasion of Ayutthaya by the Burmese army. The invaders also vandalized many of the Buddha images and Buddha heads in Ayutthaya. The site remained abandoned until the early 1950s when the Department of Fine Art of Thailand began the restoration work in Ayutthaya. There is still no exact history of how the Buddha head became entwined in the roots of the tree. Among many theories, one theory suggests that the tree grew around the head of the Buddha when the temple was left abandoned. Similarly, another theory also states that a thief moved the Buddha head away from the main temple in Ayutthaya to hide it. But after moving the stone Buddha head away from the ruined main temple, it is believed that the thief could not move the head beyond the walls surrounding the temple. Instead of that, the stone Buddha head was left by the wall where it got nestled in the tree roots which have grown and entwined around it.

    Modern Thai Buddha heads
    The modern Buddha head statues in Thailand are often the replicas of the Buddha head images from the Sukothai and other early periods of the history of Thailand. Faces of the Buddha heads in the modern depictions are moreover of a realistic and human like approach. The modern Buddha heads is also influenced by the Indian Gandhara style as well as the western style of art.

    If they took them all off would expect the sale of " Buhhha Statue , head Missing ! " be trending !!! :playful::playful::playful:
    2manybooks, carolgal and Any Jewelry like this.
  3. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is beautiful, 2many, and I think it was made as just a head. The base is pretty straight.
    It looks like a Sukhothai style head to me, but @AuDragon knows more about that than I do. He said he would check in regularly, and I have been tagging him, but no sign of him yet.

    As to the age, that is a difficult one, and something I won't venture into. There seem to be some irregularities in the mouth area and above the eyebrows, which I have never seen on real ones. But I don't know enough about them to say if that is a tell tale sign.

    I can show you my little Ayutthaya Buddha head for comparison. My parents bought it from another collector ca 1970.
    It did have a body once, but was separated from it when Ayutthaya was invaded by the Burmese in the 18th century, and apparently the body wasn't found. The head has been estimated as 15th-16th century.
    Because it was broken off and the top of his crown as well, you can see the core, which may be of help to you. Also note the wear on the details.


    Missing an ear, paperclip for size, not of the period.;)

    Top of head, where the flame or top of crown once was:
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
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  4. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the interesting reference, @komokwa. Yes, there would be lots of bodies lying around, but I fear it does happen.
    Thanks again, @Any Jewelry. Your head is lovely. ;)
    One thing I noticed with the other Thai heads I found online is that the stands looked identical, as if there is a small cottage industry cranking them out. Which is OK. He is pleasing, and if I don't have to feel guilty about a decapitation all the better.
    Any Jewelry and komokwa like this.
  5. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Why, thank you ma'am.:playful:
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