Thailand. Sukhothai Style, Ayutthaya Period, end of the 14th C. In the Buddhas mahaparinirvana - the great and final extinction of all the cycles of rebirth - death is represented as the triumph over death itself. The Buddha reclines in a posture that shows not a dying man at all - much less one suffering mortally from old age sickness - but one comfortably, even elegantly, recumbent and still quite alert. Gone are all the distressing reminders of the suffering - the grief-stricken clansmen (Malas), the bereaved disciplines, the pathetic funeral pyre - which were de rigeur in Gandharan Buddhist art of an earlier period. Deathless extinction is here represented by the simple devise of laying the Sukhothai standing Buddha on his right side, and leaving all else - even the effects of gravity on the hem of his garments - unchanged. The Buddha in his final moments is therefore represented as he though he were still at the height of his powers during the Middle Years when, through Enlightenment, he conquered the old age, sickness and death - that is, the three evils by which, at the moment of the mahaparinirvana represented in this image, he is actually overwhelmed. But there is another consequence of this posture which may account for its astonishing popularity among ordinary village Thais who flock to statues of the Reclining Buddha. Laid prone, the soles of the Buddhas feet are fully exposed. These are often decorated with diagrams describing the religious cosmos, the chakras. Nontheless, there is evidence that the soles of the feet are themselves the object of worship. Much folklore in Asia testifies to a widespread and ancient belief in the fertility of feet: Indian women kick fruit trees and so cause them to flower; mothers step into the footprints of gods and give miraculous birth to the founders of Chinese dynasties; the Buddhas footprints in Thailand and elsewhere radiate charismatic powers of fertility, as did Sakyamuni upon his birth when taking seven steps to the north and lotus pedals sprung alive in each footprint. Reclining, the Buddhas feet project the magic horizontally to benefit the votive multitudes. (RN)
Bronze Each piece you see here is made individually by our master artisans. The craftsmanship involved creates slight variations in color, finish, size, and shape - a quality we consider to be an added touch of uniqueness. The remarkable detail of our bronze sculptures is due to meticulous and labor-intensive care by Thai craftsmen to produce these unique sculptures of exquisite detail and timeless durability. Buffing, polishing, and patinising give each piece its final green-grey verdigris or bronze luster, which conveys the essence of what we at Eastern Serenity admire in South-East Asian art.