Buddhas carved in Laos are renowned for their exquisite and delicate portrayal of the “Enlightened One”. This finely carved antique Buddha is depicted in a gesture (mudra) found only in Laos, referred to as “Calling for Rain” or “Calling the Rain Over a Kingdom Affected by Drought” where he stands upright with his hands held outwards and symmetrically at his side fingers pointing to the ground. The hem of his monk’s robe flares out decoratively, almost touching his fingers. His half-shut almond-shaped eyes gaze downward in meditation. The figure is delicately portrayed with rounded pendant arms mirroring and reinforcing the graceful curves of the body. His narrow hips, elegant gestures, and slim elongated hands with long slender fingers of equal length enhance the gentleness of the Buddha. The totality of the curvature and proportion indicate the perfection of the “Enlightened One”. He wears the ticivara, the three-part robe of a monk consisting of an upper robe (uttarasanga), a lower robe (antaravasaka), and the diagonal outer robe (sanghati) that falls to just above his ankles. The image stands on an unusually high multi-tiered and round waisted base, which is as tall as the carved image itself reflecting one of the widely accepted canons in Buddhist art in Laos that a high pedestal reflects a deep and unwavering respect for the Buddha. It is in very good condition with an age crack on the pedestal which does not compromise the integrity of the piece. Carved Laotian images as elegant as this are extremely rare.
Somkiart Lopetcharat, Lao Buddha: The Image and Its History, Bangkok, Siam International Book Company, Ltd, 2000.
K.I. Matics, Gestures of the Buddha, Chulalongkorn University Press, Bangkok, 2001.