Thai Buddha Images : Gestures and Postures of the Buddha. Buddha images of different historic periods in Thailand.

Main Page

Characteristics and Postures of the Buddha
Sitting Buddhas
Reclining Buddhas
Seven Days of the Buddha

Hand Gestures :
The Six Main Mudras
Dhyana Mudra
Bhumisparsha Mudra
Abhaya Mudra
Vitarka Mudra
Varada Mudra

Historical Periods :
Chiang Saen - Lanna
U Thong

Historical Notes :



Temples in Thailand :
Wat Pho
Wat Benchamabophit  

Buddha Images at :
Pathom Chedi
Wat Benchamabophit   
Introduction to Buddhism in Thailand

The 10 Jatakas (lives of the Buddha) as depicted in Thai mural Temple paintings


Dvaravati art - Buddha Images

Buddha at Wat Na Phramen, Ayutthaya, Dvaravati Art

Dvaravati art - Buddha Image at Wat Na Phramen, Ayutthaya. Notice that the Buddha is seated in the 'European style'. The Buddha displays none of the 'classical' mudras, and His Hands are laying peacefully palms down on His Knees.

Dvaravati refers to a kingdom situated in the Chao Phraya river basin between the 7th and 11th centuries A.D. Presently Dvaravati art, including many Buddha images and sculptures, can be found at National Museum in many provinces of Central Thailand, such as Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum, Nakhon Pathom, U Thong National Museum (Suphan Buri), Prachinburi National Museum. All the above mentioned National Museums are certainly worth a visit.
The Dvaravati style derived from Indian archetypes such as Amaravati and Gupta styles, and were integrated with local art.
Dvaravati art and images went roughly through three stages : In the initial stage, there was heave Indian influence, later on the art became more independent locally, and still later influence of Khmer art is visible.

So, initially the faces depicted would resemble Indian sculptures. Later on, influenced by local styles, the aureole would appear in a lotus bud shape or orb over the cranial protuberance. Large hair curls are visible, and the eyebrows would resemble a crows wings curve, like a flying bird. Protuding eyes, with flat nose and thick lips are common. Standing Buddha images performing the Vitarka (Preaching) posture, with robes hanging to mid shin level (see example). In sitting images, a short mantle is placed over the left shoulder.
Khmer influence became visible later on with a more square face and cleft chin.

The Dharmachakra wheel (see picture at bottom) is very typical of Dvaravati art. The wheel was likely positioned on large pillars at places of worship. The Dharmachakra wheel symbolizes the Buddha's turning of the Wheel of Truth or Law. Often the Dharmachakra has eight spokes, symbolizing the eight-fold Noble Path. The Buddha is known as the Wheel-Turner : the One who sets the cycle of teachings in motion and in consequence changes the course of destiny.
It is worth remembering that during the early centuries of Buddhism, no sculptures of the Buddha were made, and the Buddha was represented by various symbols such as the Dharmachakra, the Bodi Tree, the Buddha's footprints etc.

Dvaravati Art, Buddha Images, Meditation

Dvaravati art - Buddha, protected by Naga in meditation posture. 8 - 11 th century A.D.
Found at Si Mahosot, Prachinburi province.
Now in the National Museum, Bangkok.


Dvaravati Art, Vitarka Mudra, Prachinburi, Buddha Images
Dharavati art - Standing Buddha with two hands displaying Vitarka Mudra. 7- 9 th century A.D.
Found at Si Mahosot.
Now present at National Museum, Prachinburi.


Buddha Images, Meditation, Dvaravati Art, Buddha Iconography
Dvaravati art - Sitting Buddha in Meditation Posture.
8 - 10th century A.D.
Found at Si Mahosot, Prachinburi province.
Now present at National Museum, Prachinburi.


Teaching, Buddha Images, Dvaravati Art, Buddha Images
Stone carving of scene from the Buddha's life. Dvaravati art 7th-11th century A.D. The Lord Buddha is seated in so-called 'European' fashion.
Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum (Nakhon Pathom)
Original found at Wat Sai, Nakhon Pathom


Phra Pathom Chedi, Buddha Images
Dvaravati art - Buddha standing on Arunaditya.
7 - 11th century A.D.
Found at Nakhon Pathom.
Now present at Phra Pathom Chedi National Museum, Nakhon Pathom.


Head of the Buddha, Dvaravati Art
Dvaravati art - Head of the Buddha
17 cm high Terracotta image.
Found at Wat Phra Ngam, Nakhon Pathom.
Now present National Museum, Bangkok.


Dharmachakra Wheel, Dvaravati Art
Dvaravati art - Dharmachakra
7- 11th century A.D.
Found at Nakhon Pathom.


More about Thailand at : Articles, and Web Directory -
Content by Guido Vanhaleweyk, Bangkok.