Head of a Buddha
Unknown artist, Thai
Head of a Buddha, 700-900 CE
13.3 x 10.6 x 6 cm (5 1/4 x 4 3/16 x 2 3/8 inches)
Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 58.098
A rare fragment of early Thai Buddhist sculpture, this head of a Buddha (left) was once part of the decoration of a brick structure located in the region around Nakhon Pathom in eastern Thailand, where the limited remains of the Dv¯aravati empire are concentrated. Buddhism and Hinduism were introduced into Thailand early in the first millenium CE. The Dv¯aravati was the first Southeast Asian empire to evolve a Buddhist style distinguishable from Indian prototypes, seen in the Buddha’s hair and face. The head, perhaps cast in a mold, may have centered a grouping of the Buddha with two flanking attendants. The simplicity of this image is intended to persuade worshippers to emulate the Buddha’s serene and contemplative state.