Thailand, Lopburi circa 1200 CE
Bronze, cast in the lost wax method
height 35 cm
‘Rajadhiraja’, which means ‘King of Kings’, is the name given to important crowned Buddha images. The ornamentation alludes to an early phase of Buddha’s life when he enjoyed a princely existence as Siddhartha, the son of a wealthy ruler. Buddha is also a universal monarch who manifested himself in the heaven to Bodhisattvas. Another legend tells how Buddha appeared as a king in his royal splendour to overwhelm King Jambhupati, who had threatened to annex the kingdom of Bimbara.
Buddha’s hands are raised in abhaya mudra, the gesture of removing fear, clearly showing the Buddhist wheel on the palms. He wears handsome jewellery – earrings, bracelets, a necklace – and a beautifully decorated crown covers his head and ushnisa. Noteworthy is the finely constructed sanghati decorated with flowers, pearls and ornaments that covers both shoulders and falls to the ankles. An urna, the sign of illumination, is depicted on his forehead.
The bronzes produced in Lopburi are hallmarked by grandeur and dignity and are part of the great Khmer civilization. The present bronze, with its perfect proportions and finely delineated details, exhibits the typical stylistic traits of the period. The inspired facial expression is full of life enhanced by the powerful movement of the raised hands. The most attractive natural green patina produces a surface that could be compared with jade.
Spink & Son Ltd, England, before 1978.
Galerie de Ruimte, the Netherlands, acquired 21 November 1978.
J. Boisselier, La Sculpture en Thailande, Fribourg, 1974, p. 115.
J. Menzies, Buddha Radiant Awakening, Sydney, 2001, p. 62, fig. 44.