AGE: – Unknown
CONSTRUCTION: – Tablet Terracotta, Shrine Metal – depicting Buddha’s descent from Trayastrimsa Heaven
DESCRIPTION: – Thai Terracotta Buddhist Votive Tablet – The tablet is held in place by two wires at the back of the shrine.
HEIGHT:– Stand 39cm – Terracotta Tablet 29cm
BASE DEPTH: – Stand 9cm
WEIGHT:– 1.35 kg.
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A Thai Terracotta Buddhist Votive Tablet encased in a gilded metal frame shows the image of the walking Buddha impressed onto the terracotta in the traditional Sukhothai style seen in many Buddhist sculptures in Thailand. Many small terracotta plaques were quite crudely made and were produced in abundance, this particular plaque is larger in size and the central Buddha beautifully executed to show the movement of the robe and outline of the Buddha’s body.
The Sukhothai style shows the Buddha dressed in loosely fitting flowing robes, with eyes lowered, long elegant limbs and broad shoulders, with feet in a walking posture. This posture became popular in Thailand in the 13th Century. It is believed that this posture brought the Buddha closer to the earthly realm and depicts the descent from Trayastrimsa (Tavatimsa) Heaven.
According to the views in the book Siamese Votive tablets written by G. Goedes, he describes the Buddha in this pose as that of the walking Buddha, popularly supposed to safeguard buildings against fire.
The design and shape of the gilded shrine in which this plaque is sitting in is typical of Thai shrines and doorway frames found in most Thai Temples. A picture of a similar tablet to this can be seen in the book “Siamese Votive Tablets” by G. Goedes, translated by W. A. Graham where this style of images is discussed on page 15, Plate XII.
Buddhist Merchants, monks and pilgrims from India from very early times journeyed between China and India for trade or to spread the word of the Buddha. Small plaques with the central image of the Buddha were easy to carry and many smaller votive plaques found or excavated on the Thai peninsula originated from India.
For those of you who can read Thai script may be able to determine a date from the script at the back of the tablet – This votive plaque accompanied another similar style bronze shrine and was acquired in Singapore in 1973.