AGE: – 10th – 12th Century
CONSTRUCTION: – Bronze
DESCRIPTION: – Rare Burmese Bronze Pagan Eight Scene Buddhist Stelae – age related wear, small areas with verdigris
DEPTH: – from 4cm – 6cm
WEIGHT:– 9.85 kg.
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A Rare Burmese Bronze Pagan Eight Scene Buddhist Stelae showing the central figure of the Buddha seated under the Bodhi tree, with the right hand touching earth “calling earth to witness”. This mudra referred to as Bhumisparsa mudra depicts the moment when the Buddha attained enlightenment. The scenes on either side and below were relevant to his experiences in the eight weeks leading up to his enlightenment and the events in the seven weeks after his enlightenment. The scene on top where the Buddha is seen lying prostrate on a couch surrounded by his devotees is referred to as the Buddha lying in parinirvana or dying.
The two Naga kings supporting the double lotus pedestal in which the Buddha is seated show nagas (or snakes) covering the back of their heads and extending down their backs, very much an Indian Buddhist/Hindu influence introduced by visiting Indian Buddhists to Burma during the first millennium. This would lead us to believe that this stelae is possibly an earlier version of the more traditional Burmese eight scene stelea, or that this stelae was a votive tablet brought into Burma by Buddhist pilgrims.
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The lotus pedestal on which the Buddha is seated is flanked and supported by two Naga kings with two lions underneath. Along the front of the base are a row of figures, possibly the daughters of Mara, two standing Bodhisattva or Maitreya’s (future Buddha’s) flank either side of the seated Buddha.
This bronze stelae shows the influence of the times when Buddhist pilgrims and merchants from India traveled to Burma bringing with them their culture and religious beliefs which evidenced itself in early Burmese Buddhist iconography from the 3rd century AD., adopting both Hindu, Buddhist and animist beliefs of the time. Whilst Buddhism waned in India it flourished in Myanmar, China, Thailand, parts of South East Asia, Laos, Vietnam and Japan.