A Decorative 18thC Carved & Polychrome Painted Chen Sen Head of Buddha on Stand


Origin: Thailand
Period: Eighteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1700-1800
Overall Height: 33 inches (with stand)
Width: 8 inches (at head)
Depth: 9 inches (at head)
Height: 13 inches (at head)

The carved and polychrome elephant grey painted softwood Chen Sen Buddha head lanna style with conical usnisa rows of spiralling curled hair, the face with serene expression, closed eyes, aquiline nose, slight smiling lips and elongated ears, the whole raised on a later plinth stand.

The head does show its age, although it is somewhat tricky to date, it is most certainly of eighteenth century origin and there are more than just traces of the original painted decoration. There are small amounts of loss to the carving to the nose, forehead and ear and some wear to the stand which is probably fifty or so years old. The stand is a little tatty and so could be re-painted if so desired.

The Buddha lived in northeast India around 2,500 years ago. He gave up worldly comforts, and found spiritual enlightenment through a simple lifestyle and meditation. This head shows him with his special characteristics: the long earlobes remind us of the heavy earrings he wore as a prince, before he gave up his wealth; the gentle smile indicates serenity; the raised spot on the forehead represents a third eye – a sign of spiritual insight; and the raised dome on his head – like a bun – is another symbol of wisdom. Although Buddhism originated in India, it spread to other parts of Asia, and reached Indonesia in the early centuries AD.

A wonderfully evocative fragment of the orient with plenty of decorative appeal but also one that carries weighty spiritual significance.