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Thailand, Sukhothai Style, U Thong C style of early Ayutthaya period. The fin-de-siecle art of the Bayon period produced a brilliant synthesis of religions, of which this androgynous image of the Compassionate Protector is a stunning example: masculine virility is combined with feminine grace, just as the image of Shiva as the Protector of the State is combined with that of Buddha as Compassionate Savior of the people. The sensuous lips and rounded contours of the lower face modulate the pitilessness of Shivas omniscient scrutiny of the empire. The stolidly masculine square features, which are traditionally used to represent Shiva, have been replaced here by an abstract balance of the more effeminate ovals associated with Buddhist art. The Buddhas usnisa assumes the form of the sacred mountain at the heart of the devaraj cult of Shiva. But the religious identity is left deliberately ambiguous. A Buddhist could view this image as that of Buddha with Shivas third eye. As the Theravada school, the more democratic form of Buddhism, fed a popular revolt against autocratic state religion of the empire, the wealthy Brahman class advanced their own cause by promoting a new popular Shaivite religious movement. To make this overbearing Hindu patron of the Khmer authorities appeal to the Buddhist masses, Shivas image was often portrayed with features of the Buddha, his rival for mass affection. Blissful smile of triumph playing upon the Buddhas lips records his Victory over Mara, the Evil One, at the moment of Enlightenment. The downcast, lotus bud eyes contemplate the ignominy of Maras army - the vanities of the world - when the Buddhist Devil failed to seduce the Buddha with promises of worldly power, wealth and pleasure. The Buddhas sublime expression convey supreme confidence in the powers of mind over the forces of Ignorance.

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.

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