This ornately decorated seated Buddha is made of paper-mache. It has then been lacquered and either painted or gilded and inlayed with colour glass. Lacquer mixed with bone ash can provide moulded decoration for hair, jewellery, and borders on clothing. The lacquer also provides a base for the inlay of coloured glass and mirror, which was popular in later images. The Buddha is seated in Vajrasana (lotus), with the left hand in dhyanamudra (meditation), and the right hand in Bhumisparsamudra (touching the earth). The red painted base on which the Buddha is sitting has an inscription ‘The Sitting Budh’, which may have been added when the object was accessioned. The Buddha is ornately decorated with turquoise, green and purple glass. The ears have holes in the lobes. Further information regarding Buddhist images made from wood and lacquer can be obtained from ‘Arts of Asia’ (Vol. 11, No.3, May-June) edited by Sylvia Fraser-Lu. Although the provenance is unknown, the donor is the wife of the late Mr F.W. Locke Ross, who died in 1860, and therefore the object must pre-date the 1860’s. An image of the object was assessed by John Guy of the V & A who suggested that the piece was of Mandalay Court Style (which developed end of 18th/early 19th century), and was probably new when Locke bought it (Pers.Comm 2005).

Object Summary

Museum Number E328
Simple Name statue
Full Name figure of the Buddha
Common Name Buddha
Production country Myanmar
Material papier mache; glass; papier mache
Collection class Religion and magic
Collection continent Asia
Collection area/region SE
Production county ?Shan State
Production continent Asia