VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Footprint of the Lord Buddha
CM 38-2516
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

It is special because it is a wooden footprint; most images of the Buddha's footprints are are in stone. Apart from the restoration history, which makes it special, we do not find many objects using mother of pearl in this period. It is a technique from the Ayutthaya period (15th-18th Century) and was used for kings and high-ranking monks.

History of the Object
On the back, there is a text that indicates that part of the image was destroyed by fire and that it was restored in 1794 during the reign of Paray Kawila (ruled in Chiangmai from 1782-1813), the first ruler after the Burmese domination. A different technique is used for the restoration on the right side. The images of gods were not painted again, because the restorers did not want to interfere with the old sacred style. Paray Kawila kept the object and his family donated it later to the Wat Phra Singh. This footprint shows the Heaven, existing of seven levels. Each level has its own Gods, which are shown. In the middle, the Centre of the Universe is depicted as a circle. The circle is the Dhammajakra, the continuously turning Buddhist wheel spreading Buddhist teachings and knowledge. Underneath the circle the Human World is depicted.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Teakwood with mother of pearl inlay and gilt 
Measurements
Width 124 cm Height 200 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Thailand; North of Thailand 
Geography
Thailand 
Time period
AD 16th century ~ AD 16th century 
Creation date
16th Century; First half of the 16th Century during Burmese rule. 
Function
Footprints of the Lord Buddha are mostly found in stone in the forest or in the mountains. These places were considered sacred and often a temple was erected near the footprint. 
Acquisition
The statue belongs to the Wat Phra Singh, one of the most famous temples in Chiang Mai. The Abbot of the temple gave it to the museum on the occasion of its opening in 1973 (Buddhist Year 2516) as a long-term loan. See also: CM 39-2516 and CM 635-2516 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Wat Phra Singh 
Museum
Chiang Mai National Museum 
Credit line
 

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