Srivijaya Art


Left - Naga-protected Buddha in 'Subduring Mara'
(Maravijaya) Posture
: circa early 14th century AD, Stone, Height 1.45 m, Bronze, Height 165 cm, Width 65 cm, Found at Wat Wiang, Amphoe Chaiya, Surat Thani province. (Currently on exhibition at Bangkok National Museum)

Back - Votive Table made from unbaked clay, imprinted with Buddha images: circa 7th - 11thcentury AD, Height 11 cm, , Width 9.2 cm, Found at Wat Tham Harm, Khao Kob district, Amphoe Khao Khao, Trang province. (Currently on exhibition at Bangkok National Museum)

The Srivijaya kingdom is believed to have thrived in Sumatra between the 8th - 13th centuries AD. Through the numerous art objects found from this period, we know the culture came to dominate some part of Southern Thailand. At this time, Srivijaya Art was influenced not just by Indian art forms through trade but also by Dvaravati, Javanese and Khmer art. These influenced were integrated with different local styles resulting in works with a very distinctive appearance. Buddha image fromthis period are mostly related to Mahayana Buddhism, however, religious objects including those of Hinnayana Buddhism and Hinduism have also been discovered.


Votive tables found from this period were made from unbaked clay which is easily broken, therefore, their purpose was not to prolong Buddhism into the future as with metal or baked clay tablets. They were created (following the Mahayana tradition) for the spiritual benifit of the deceased. After cremation the bones or relics of Buddhists were mixed with clay and made into votive tablets depicting the Buddha or Bodhisattva. Because the bones had been cremated once already, they did not require a second firing.