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Ancient representation in dry lacquer of Buddha Sakyamuni.
He is represented seated on a high plinth, the latter adorned on its base with stylized lotus petals. The Awakened one adopts here a classic posture in Buddhist iconography called bhumisparsa mudra or gesture of taking the Earth to witness: the right hand is positioned on the knee, the fingers touching the ground, while the left hand is posed in his lap, palm turned towards the sky. The legs are crossed in the full lotus position (vajraparyanka) with the soles of the feet facing upwards. This representation of the Buddha evokes the victory of Sakyamuni over the demon Mara and can be interpreted as an allegory of enlightenment.
The body is solid, almost corpulent and dressed in uttarasanga revealing the right shoulder, the chest is broad and the hips narrow, the drape presenting a long side starting from the left shoulder and descending in a straight line on the navel.
The almost round, youthful-looking face exudes great softness and features fine, perfectly curved eyebrows topping half-closed almond-shaped eyes. The heavy eyelids under which the pupils appear, give the face a great interiority. The aquiline nose with delicately drawn nostrils overhangs a small mouth with thin lips sketching a slight smile. The hairstyle is characterized by a multitude of small pins, the skull showing a deformation (usnisa) surmounted by a rasmi, symbol of the spiritual radiance of the Buddha, borrowed from Sinhalese images, in the shape of a lotus bud. The ears with lobes distended by the weight of the ornaments symbolize the royal origin of the historical Buddha, the neck presenting the three folds of beauty.
The dry lacquer technique is said to have originated in China, and so far little information is available about its arrival in Burma. The mastery of the technique is however well established by Burmese artists from the 18th century.
The technique itself involves modeling a clay image clad against a wooden or bamboo frame covered with a mixture of hemp, ash and lacquer. This operation is then repeated several times to give shape and consistency to the desired image, the heart then being removed.
Dimensions: 88 x 44.5 cm
General condition: The piece presents old restorations in lacquer as well as small accidents mainly located on the lower part of the base. There are also a few minor shortcomings with no impact on the hairstyle to relate to the age of the piece. The wooden rasmi is posterior.
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|Location||38090, Villefontaine, France|