Burmese Buddha Head, Stucco Over BrickArtist: Unknown
Throughout history, from the largest cosmopolitan cities to the least inhabited regions of the world, people have always tried to understand and define their purpose in life while wondering about life after death.
These questions have helped create and develop more than 4200 different religions in the world today, however the vast majority can be classified into four main ideologies representing more than 90% of our 6.7 billion inhabitants.
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all were derived from the same belief in one God and a spiritual afterlife, while Buddhists, who follow the teachings of Buddha to attain enlightenment, seek happiness and inner peace through daily acts of kindness on earth , and subsequently, improving their life’s positions through multiple rebirths.
The two main branches of Buddhism are Theravada and Mahayana, although a third branch, Vajrayana is actually an offshoot from Mahayana,
In Theravada Buddhism, attainment of Nirvana (sublime state) is achieved by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path (Middle Way), to escape the cycle of suffering and rebirth. These “paths” require the individual to follow the right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (meditative absorption), all ideals to help and better each individual’s contribution to the world. It is the dominant religion in SE Asia. and particularly in Burma, now Myanmar, where almost 90% of the people are Theravada Buddhists.
This spectacular 16th Century Buddha head, from Burma’s Ava Period, is lacquered and painted stucco over brick, a common practice of the period. The classic Ava features include; a large forehead, oval face, pointed chin, curved natural eyebrows, downcast eyes in meditation, straight and low bridge of nose, small lips pointed forward, and a clear cleft above the upper lip. The back of the head is rough as it once was cemented to an interior wall. There is evidence of a smaller head from an earlier period that can be seen in the neck area.
13.5 inches tall