AGE: – 18 – 19th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Gilded Alabaster
DESCRIPTION: – Burmese Alabaster Gilded Standing Monk Statue – Thayo lacquer scrolls decorate the edges of the robe and centre front- age related wear. Natural seam
HEIGHT: – 76cm
WIDTH: – 19cm
DEPTH: – 16cm
WEIGHT: – 32.75 kg.
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18th Century Burmese Alabaster Gilded Standing Monk Statue – such as this are found in monasteries and temples throughout Myanmar (formerly Burma). Monks in Myanmar hold a special place in society. They act as advisors and counselors as well as teachers of the Theravada school of Buddhism, the main form of Buddhism practiced in Myanmar.
Monasteries, depending on their sizes can house several hundred monks ranging in ages, from a young child of of 5 or 6 to more senior monks of greater age. The scope of a monks activities is a complex. The traditional monk in Myanmar starts as a novice whilst a child around 7 to 14 years old, they usually reside in the monastery and are schooled in the monastery after their initiation ceremony which is compulsory for all Buddhist boys around the age of 7 to 12 years.
The financial situation of the family of the novice monk will depict where the ceremony will take place. It is an expensive initiation into the monk hood for the family. The family will usually pay for the costs of a set of robes and other requisite. Donations are also made by the family to the monastery as well as food for the invited guests.
Symbolically, the initiation ceremony reflects the renouncement of the material world by the Buddha, who abandoned his comfortable life of a prince and became a homeless mendicant. The novice monk wearing the costume of a prince is carried to the monastery on a white horse or on a litter. After his head is shaven he puts on the robe and is instructed by the senior teacher.
The young monk will reside in the monastery for at least a week, during which time he is instructed in basic principles of Buddhism. This performance is the most important stage in a boy’s life, because only then he formally becomes a part of the Buddhist community and society.
Monks brought up in the monastery enjoy a higher degree of respect than those who become monks at an older age as they are thought to be pure, that is his experience of the world is limited therefore less likely to be influenced by materialistic and physical needs and more likely to stay.
To view more monk statues