Bronze Buddha Statue from Laos
I bought this little Buddha in Vang Vieng, Laos, and it is very puzzling. I’ve never been able to find another example of a seated Buddha holding a naga-handled mirror in front of him while meditating. Never. Ever. From anywhere in the world. This statue probably dates from the 18th-19th century and was most likely made for a household shrine. Originally it seems to have been cast from bronze and covered with black lacquer, then gilded. It stands 14 cm tall.
If anyone has any more information concerning this statue, please contact me.
Update: I posted photos of this statue on the Forum at ASIAN ART and learned that what I thought was a mirror was actually a fan! A monks’ fan is called talapatr in Thai, and hiding their faces when preaching is a common practice in SE Asia:
“Another theory is that the fan concealed the faces of monks at gatherings of the laity so that the latter could concentrate on the dharma being preached, rather than be distracted by the monks’ visual aspect.”