SOLD Vintage Earth Witnessing Buddha, Laos (3185A- ELO) $295


H: 9”  W: 4.25  D: 3.125” | FREE SHIPPING

This mid 20th century Buddha Shakyamuni in Earth Witnessing position is carved in rural Lao style. Covered with gilt, the small rustic and simply carved image follows Lao artistic canons for depicting a Buddha: a curved hairline and high arched eyebrows that meet at the bridge of the nose, distinct hair curls, long ears, and a flame-shaped radiance emerging from his ushnisha. Its very large base is as tall and wide as the image, reflecting Laotian beliefs that a high pedestal reflects a deep respect for the Buddha. A base has been added for display purposes.  Authentic old Lao images, even small personal ones like this, are difficult to find.

Out of stock


Theravada Buddhism practiced in the Southeast Asia share the same conservative traditions in depicting the Buddha, closely following cannons recorded in ancient texts. Lao sculptural styles resemble that of Northern and Northeastern Thailand where most Buddha-Statues show Shakyamuni-Buddha in bhumisparsha (earth witnessing) mudra with his right hand in his lap in meditation and his left reaching over to touch the ground to call on Mara, the demonic king, to witness his spiritual awakening and then then achieved Buddhahood, and reached enlightenment.  This Lao-Buddha closely follows the 32 lakshanas, with a distinctive flame-shaped radiance emerging from the ushnisha atop the head which functions as a spiritual aureole, pendulous ears, snail-crowned curls and are often covered in gilt to reflect his golden skin and wear two part monks robes in the ‘open’ mode, leaving the right shoulder bare showing the Buddha’s humility. Buddha statues are presented on very high pedestals as a sign of  respect.  Lao artisans are expected to be in both a spiritual and mental state which will enable them to visualize the ideal Buddhist reality and for this reason, Lao-Buddhas and Buddhist-Statues display a wide variety of artistic styles with no images being identical. Although the Buddha is not perceived as a deity, Lao Buddhists often seek to communicate with the supernatural world through Buddha statues making offerings to them and praying in front of them in temples and in home settings. This image is probably in the folk art tradition meaning it was not made by a local artisan but by a farmers who carved it during raining seasons and placed it at the temple or home altar for good luck or other reasons. It is in very good condition with gilt and surface losses consistent with age and use, and minor loss to the left earlobe. This is part of the VA Spiritual-and-Inspirational Collection of Buddhist-Art.


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.

Additional information

Weight 5 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 1 × 9 in
Place of Origin



Antique/Vintage (1910-1980)



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (metric)

Carving: Ht: 17.46cm W: 7.947cm D: 4.13cm With stand: Ht: 22.86cm W: 10.79cm D: 7.94cm


10 oz


Very good, see description

Item Number

3185A- ELO

Shipping Box Size