Chiang Saen-Lanna Art


Chiang Saen-Lanna Art refers to objects found in Northern Thailand dating between 11th or 13th centuries AD. The Buddha images from this period can be categorized into two distrinct phases.


Front - Bronze Phra Phuttha Sihing or Phra Singh, circa 13th - 18th century AD. Currently enshrined at Wiharn Lai Kham, Wat Phra Singh, Amphoe Muang, Chiang Mai Province)

Right - A bronze head of Buddha, circa 15th - 17th century AD. Moved from Wat Phra That Hariphunchai Woramahawiharn, Amphoe Muang, Lamphun Province )

Back - Bronze Buddha in 'Subduring Mara' (Maravijaya) Posture, circa late-15th century AD. Currently on exhibition at Bangkok National Museum.


Former Phase With similar characteristics to the Pala-Indian style, Buddha images typically featured a lotud bud or orb shaped finial and large hair curls (without a hair band), a plump torso and prominent chest. The face is round with a gently smiling expression, high curving eyebrows, a hooked nose, narrow lips, and a knobbed chin. A short mantle with a zigzag 'Centipedes Fang' design is usually positioned above the breast. Figures would usually be posed in the Subduring Mara (Maravijaya) posture and the Buddha would be seated cross-legged, showing the soles of both feet.


Bronze Buddha in Royal Attire in 'Subduring Mara' (Maravijaya) Posture, circa 18th century AD. Currently on exhibition at Bangkok National Museum.


Later Phase Later influences from Sukhothai introduced an extended lotus-shaped or flame-shaped finial. fine hair curls and a thin hair band. The torso and chest sometimes resembled those of the former phase, but the face was more oval (some works still featured the round shape). The mantle usally extended down to the navel. The posture was also modified to a seated position with the sole of only one foot visible and the base upon which the figure was seated was usally undecorated. Buddha images draped in royal attire and appearing in different postures were also initiated, often featuring more decorative elements on the base. It was during this time that the creation of Buddha images in crystal and precious stones became very popular.


Bronze Buddha in Meditation posture resting on a Hastilinga (mythical bird) base, circa late 16th century AD. Currently on exhibition at Bangkok National Museum.


Images of the Buddha in Thailand, SAWASDEE, January 2001, page 30-37.