Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Attributes of the Buddha in Thailand and Laos

Buddhist Art northern Thailand Style Thai Buddha Head Sculpture with colored stones

Some of the earliest Buddhist texts from the 1st century BCE, list 32 different physical attributes of the Buddha. Some of these are quite poetic such as "legs like an antelope's” or "ankles like rounded shells" whilst others are specific such as depictions of his feet with level tread, projecting heels, long and slender fingers and toes, and a tuft of hair protruding between his eyebrows.

It is not required that such Buddha images reflect all of these attributes, many of them have acquired a deeply religious and iconic status.

The Buddha is also said to have had a protuberance or bump on the top of his head referred to as the usnīsa. This is sometimes represented as a spike, and sometimes only as a small bump. The Buddha always has a serene demeanour or faint smile. The Buddha is always depicted with very long ear-lobes. This is thought because in his earlier life as a prince he had worn heavy earrings, but this has now has come to symbolize his wisdom.


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