Head of a Buddha
Thailand, probably 14th / 15th century
Bronze, with traces of gilt
20.6 cm high
Buddhist sculptures have particular characteristics (lakshanas) that express the divine and superhuman qualities of those born to rulers in the spiritual or earthly world. The lakshanas are fixed by Buddhist texts, and standardised indications of a Buddha include an egg-shaped face, lotus-shaped eyes, and elongated pierced earlobes, like those seen here. The Barber’s work also has tight snail-shell curls leading down to a traditional crown of hair (ushnisha). A flame-like element projects from the top of the head. Thai depictions of the Buddha often feature this flame shape, perhaps an equivalent of the halo in the Christian tradition.
Purchased 1942 (No. 42.3)