Thai Buddhist Art & Amulets of the Dvaravati Era
The Dvaravati era, which lasted from the 6th to the 13th centuries, marked a significant period in the history of Siam, now known as Thailand. During this time, the Dvaravati kingdom emerged as a powerful state in the region, with a strong influence over the neighboring lands. This era also saw the rise of Buddhism as the dominant religion in Siam, and the flourishing of Thai Buddhist art, which was shaped by a number of cultural and artistic influences.
The Dvaravati era was characterized by the arrival of Indian traders and Buddhist missionaries, who brought with them not only their religion but also their art and architecture. This influence can be seen in the early Dvaravati Buddhist sculptures, which were characterized by the use of Indian iconography, such as the depiction of the Buddha in the seated meditation pose, and the depiction of Buddhist gods and goddesses. The sculptures also incorporated elements of Indian architectural styles, such as the use of elaborate pillars and arches.
Another significant influence on Thai Buddhist art during the Dvaravati era was the Mon culture, which was prevalent in the region before the arrival of the Indian traders. The Mon people were skilled craftsmen and artists, and their influence can be seen in the early Dvaravati sculptures, which were often decorated with intricate carvings and designs. This blending of Indian and Mon styles produced a unique form of Thai Buddhist art, which was characterized by its elegant simplicity and harmonious compositions.
One of the most famous examples of Thai Buddhist art from the Dvaravati era is the Buddha image in the “Calling the Earth to Witness” pose, which is also known as the “Earth Touching” pose. This statue depicts the Buddha seated in meditation, with one hand touching the ground as a symbol of his enlightenment. The statue is characterized by its simple and serene expression, and its posture conveys a sense of calm and peacefulness. Other famous postures, were the ‘Haam Yaat’ forbidding relatives, and the ‘Haam Samutra’ holding back the ocean posture.
In addition to sculptures, Thai Buddhist art from the Dvaravati era also includes a wide range of other artifacts, such as votive tablets, relief carvings, and stupas. These artifacts were often decorated with intricate carvings and designs, and were used to decorate temples and other religious sites. The stupas, in particular, were an important aspect of Thai Buddhist art, as they were used to preserve Buddhist relics and to symbolize the Buddha’s teachings.
One of the most famous stupas from the Dvaravati era is the Phra Pathommachedi Stupa, which is located in the central region of Thailand. This stupa is considered to be one of the tallest in Southeast Asia, and is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist sites in Thailand. The stupa is decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures, and is a testament to the skill and creativity of Thai Buddhist artists during the Dvaravati era.
As the first of the eight eras, the Dvaravati era was a very important time in Thai History, marked by the rise of Buddhism in Siam as the dominant religion, and the flourishing of Thai Buddhist art. This art was shaped by a number of cultural and artistic influences, including the arrival of Indian traders and Buddhist missionaries, and the influence of the Mon culture. Today, the art and artifacts from the Dvaravati era.