Thailand, Sukhothai period
(13th–15th centuries)

Walking Buddha



Gift of William C. Luban


Buddha’s walking stance is unique to Southeast Asia. It recalls Buddha as a wanderer and missionary teacher. The left hand is raised in the “do not fear” position (mudra).

During the 13th and 14th centuries, representations of Buddha changed in an attempt to portray an idealized conception of an enlightened being. The earlier square-face, Khmer style became long and oval; the eyebrows highly arched and the nose elongated; the lips pressed together; and the chin represented by a single, incised curve. The flame-like emblem rising from the ushnisha (bump of wisdom, on top of head) represents Buddha’s enlightenment.

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