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19thC Gilded Buddhist Temple Wood Carving ABA09

This antique Buddhist temple sculpture is one of the rarest artifacts in the gallery. A severe earthquake in July, 1975 damaged and destroyed many temple structures and monuments across the Bagan plateau in central Burma. This teakwood carving was rescued from a temple, sadly destroyed in the earthquake. It is part of a larger structure referred to as a flame aureole that rose from behind the head of the main temple Buddha image.

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Aureole or prabhamandala is the term used for the ‘halo’ phenomenon that people purportedly witnessed in the Buddha’s presence, most radiant at the time of his enlightenment. Light would emanate from the Buddha’s body, and this carving with floral motifs and a flame like crown is an elaborate representation of this light, symbolizing the Buddha’s brilliant spiritual intensity.

This sculpture is covered in 24K gold leaf and sparingly inlaid with stained glass. The last photo in the series shows the aureole under natural lighting, while the others are taken at night under artificial lighting. It has been mounted on a sturdy, painted timber stand and could also be showcased in a recessed frame. The aureole was carved from a single piece of teakwood and the design and workmanship are as impressive as its history.

Height: 65cm, 25.5 in
Width: 35cm, 13.8 in
Materials: teakwood, 24 carat gold leaf, stained glass
Provenance: Chiang Mai art dealer
Period: Early 19th Century

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