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 Dvaravati empire are concentrated. Buddhism and Hinduism were introduced into Thailand early in the first millenium CE. The Dvaravati 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.