Head of Buddha
Carved and gilded wood and lacquerware
Late Konbaung Dynasty, 1870 – 1880 ca.
47 x 20 x 24
The semi closed meditative eyes and the ripple shapes on the neck make this head most probably part of a larger statue of the Buddha sitting in the Lotus position.
In Burma (now known as Myanmar) the prominent branch of Buddhism is the Theravāda tradition.
The Theravāda path to liberation from human suffering is constituted by the “seven relay chariots” also known as the “Seven Stages of Purification” :
1 Purification of Conduct
2 Purification of Mind
3 Purification of View
4 Purification by Overcoming Doubt
5 Purification by Knowledge and Vision of What Is Path and Not Path
6 Purification by Knowledge and Vision of the Course of Practice
7 Purification by Knowledge and Vision
which is the culmination of the practice leading to liberation and Nirvana.
Burma is also “is the most religious Buddhist country in terms of the proportion of monks in the population and proportion of income spent on religion” (Cone & Gombrich, Perfect Generosity of Prince Vessantara)
“The whole life story of the Buddha is a wonderful poem. It is so fascinating, attractive and artistic and I have never read such a wonderful poem. The emergence of the Buddha is the highest honour so far gained in the history of humanity.”