Head of the Buddha
Origin: Thailand
Date: 7th - 9th Century CE
Measurements: 27 cm
Medium: Bronze
Source: State Museum of Ethnology, Munich, Germany
http://masterpieces.asemus.museum/Default.aspx

The head shows the typical features of the Dvaravati period, which consist of a mixture of Mon elements influenced by Indian Gupta art. The outstanding beauty of this head is caused by the extremely fine and elegant outlines of the face. It does not remind us of a portrait, but reflects the timeless and the unfathomable in the being of the Buddha. This head shows utmost workmanship and is almost unique for its time.

Lion atlante

Dvâravatî (fin 6e-début 11e siècle), période incertaine
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Nakhom Pathom, Thaïlande

(C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée Guimet, Paris) / Thierry Ollivier

Section Thaïlande du musée Guimet

Part I: Phu Phrabat Historical Park, Udon Thani Province (Thailand)

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Wat Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok

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Wat Phra Phutthabat Bua Bok

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The Hor Nang Usa rock (above).

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All photos taken April 11, 2007.

Pictures-Thailand.com

For background information on this park, see the Bangkok Post article Isan home to ancient Dvaravati ruins.

Naga-Protected Buddha
Origin: Thailand
Date: 10th century
Medium: Bronze
Measurements: 16.1 cm
Source: Walters Art Gallery

In the 10th century, Cambodian political expansion disrupted Dvaravati traditions, and the open eyes of this Buddha give it a Cambodian look. It was also in the 10th century that the naga-protected Buddha became established as an important type of image for the Buddhists of Cambodia. The naga may have represented a power that could carry one’s soul to heaven following death.

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Gautama Buddha in Vedic religion (Vaishnavism) is viewed as the 9th and most recent Avatar of Vishnu. The Buddhist Dasharatha Jataka (Jataka Atthakatha 461) represents Rama as a previous incarnation of the Buddha as a Bodhisattva and supreme Dharma King of great wisdom.

Buddha Shakyamuni
Origin: Si Thep, Thailand
Date: 9th century CE (Mon-Dvaravati period)
Measurements: 223.5 cm
Medium: Sandstone
Source: Norton Simon Museum. Pasadena, California

Having once stood more than nine feet (three meters) tall, this sculpture of the Buddha Shakyamuni testifies to the great reverence shown to Buddhism by the Mons during the Dvaravati period (6th–11th centuries). Colossal images of this type, dating to such an early period, are rare in Southeast Asia.

In its original state, this Buddha would have been displayed in a temple adorned with a precious gem in between his eyebrows, now an exposed cavity. This mark, called an urna, distinguishes the Buddha from the mundane and serves as a symbol of an enlightened being. The arms of this sculpture would have been bent at the elbows, with both hands extended into space and the thumb and index finger of each touching to form the gesture of teaching (vitarkamudra). The double vitarkamudra is a hallmark of Dvaravati-period Buddha sculptures.



Now buried several metres deep under the muddy ground in a former shrimp farm in Samut Sakhon province, a millennium-old ship once sailed many oceans of the world. The vessel, 25m long, had travelled from faraway lands to transport a variety of goods to cities on this part of the Earth before it sank here during the Dvaravati period (6th-11th centuries).

Now it’s a valuable archaeological find, since it is probably the oldest ship ever unearthed in Thailand. “This ship is in the most complete condition I have ever seen. If it had had three sails intact, it would have been almost ready to sail again.” underwater archaeologist Erbprem Vatcharangkul noted.

Read full article…

Avalokiteshvara
Origin:Thailand
Date: 8th CE (Mon-Davaravati period)
Measurements: 53.3 cm
Medium: Bronze
Source: Denver Art Museum

The small figure of Amitabha Buddha in the hair of this image identifies it as Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Infinite Compassion. Usually, bodhisattvas like Avalokiteshvara wear elaborate jewelry and crowns, but those found at the Prasat Hin Khao Plai Bat II cache site in northeast Thailand appear with short garments wrapped around the waist, in contrast to Buddhas, who are shown in long robes that cover the entire body.

Candra Lokesvara, personification of the moon
Origin: Thailand
Date: Late 7th century-8th century (Mon-Dvaravati period)
Measurements: 10 x 4.5 cm
Medium: Gold repousse
Source: Victoria and Albert Museum

Gandraprabha or Chandraprabha Lokesvara is a form of the supreme Buddhist saviour, the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. In this rare form he is shown as a personification of the moon or Chandra, whose symbol of the hare is shown in his nimbus. The style of the figure, with distinctive square shoulders and narrow waist, relates closely to stone sculptures at the Dvaravati period site of Si T’ep, in Petchaburi Province.

Territory of Dvaravati at its maximum extent

The Dvaravati (Thai: ทวารวดี) period lasted from the 6th to the 13th centuries. Dvaravati refers to both a culture and a disparate conglomerate of principalities dominated by Mon peoples.

The term Dvaravati derives from coins which were inscribed in Sanskrit with śrī dvāravatī. The Sanskrit word dvāravatī means “she with many gates ” (from dvar “door gate”). Its name may derive from the mythical city of Dvāraka in ancient India.

Little is known about the administration of Dvaravati. It might simply have been a loose gathering of principalities rather than a centralized state, expanding from the coastal area of the upper peninsula to the riverine region of Chao Phraya river. Hinduism and Buddhism were significant. The main settlements appear to have been at Nakhon Pathom, U Thong and Khu Bua west of the Chao Phraya. Other towns like Lavo (modern-day Lopburi) or Si Thep were also clearly influenced by the Dvaravati culture, but probably were not part of the Dvaravati state.

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