The Head of a Buddha

Creator: Unknown
Medium: Bronze, glass, mother of pearl
Date: the Ayutthaya period. ca, 1700; 18th century
Culture: Thai
Repository: Freer Gallery of art, Smithsonian, National Museum of Asian Art

Description: The head of this Buddha depiction still holds clear detail after nearly three centuries. The bronze of the head has oxidized and turned a teal color. In crevices, the dark bronze color can still be seen. The head is in an oval shape and the Buddha’s eyes are crescents. Snails, (which are depicted as spherical bumps,) outline the Buddha’s head making up his hair. In the middle of his head, all the snails conglomerate to make up a central bun. The whites of his eyes greatly contrast with the rest of his face. Pearls or paint pigment possibly make up his eyes. Overall, this Buddha has a calm demeanor which is enhanced by down cast eyes. The Buddha has long, distinct earlobes, which imply his rejection of the material world. Since we only have the head to give us clues about this sculpture, It can be interpreted that the Buddha is looking down at something. Perhaps he is holding and object or looking towards the followers of Buddhism. Without the body of the sculpture, the rest is up to interpretation.


Author: Edward Keenan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *