Crowned Buddhas in the Ayutthaya Period

Artistic styles in Ayutthaya were a complex mix. The images below suggest the range of styles and geographically distributed influences shaping the arts of Ayutthaya.

Main Buddha Image at Wat Na Phramen, Ayutthaya. Hands display the gesture of Subduing Mara. The Buddha is in Royal Attire, with a prominent Head Dress or Crown. Typical of the late Ayutthaya period.

Buddha images of the Ayutthaya period show more different gestures than the other previoius styles. The images display the influence of Lopburi, U Thong and Sukhothai styles.

Initially the face may be more square, and a band (U Thong influence) may be present between the hairline and the forehead. Later on (Sukhothai influence) the face became more oval, with a Sukhothai type of flame on top of the ushnisha (prominent bump on the top of Buddha's head). Typical of some images are small lines carved above the upper lip and above the eyes.

Later on also, the facial expression became more stern, sometimes without any smile at all. In the later period, it became also common to show the Buddha wearing a lot of ornaments. One type shows the Buddha with an Emperor's attire (the Thai language term refers to 'big ornamentation') or with a somewhat more modest attire ('small ornamentation') featuring a crown or diadem. See examples especially at bottom of this page.

Buddha images of this period display many gestures and postures. Standing images (as featured below) often display the gesture of Dispelling Fear (Abhaya Mudra). Sitting images often display the gesture of Subduing Mara. Some giant Reclining Buddhas were constructed during this period.

Ayutthaya sculptors were fond of depicting the Buddha dressed in the "closed manner", with the clothing seeming to hug the body tightly. The upper turned-back edge of the antaravasaka shows through the outer uttarasanga, as does the stripe of its lengthwise folds between the legs. Beginning with Ayutthaya art this kind of treatment of the Buddha's clothing, which also occurred in Sukhothai, gradually becomes the general norm. In their depiction of types of ornament the sculptors followed the changing fashions of the Ayutthaya rulers. The modest embellishment of the crown and the absence of all other adornments (apart from earrings) allow us to date this sculpture to the 16th century. This is also borne out by the character of the depiction of the clothing, which is also completely devoid of adornments.