Exhibitions: Arts of Asia

Head and Torso of a Buddha

The Sukhothai Period (1250–1378) was a great period of Thai sculpture, when a national style emerged. This is evidenced by the heroic proportions of the Sukhothai Buddha torso and head. As an exemplary work of monumental bronze casting, the Buddha eminently demonstrates that statuary made in later periods could be enormously expressive. The expansive chest is covered by a transparent garment covering only the left shoulder. The silhouette is evoked by a few schematic folds of the drapery. The Buddha possesses such features of supernatural anatomy as the ushnisha (cranial protuberance), spiral curls, and extended earlobes, which reflect back to the days before his enlightenment, when he wore heavy earrings as the Indian Prince Siddhartha.