Buddha Maravijaya figurine






Late 19th century


Forging, repoussé, chasing




Height 240 mm

COMMENT. The silver figurine is an example of the cult plastics of Thailand and represents the most common iconographic image of the Shakyamuni Buddha in Indochina’s traditional art, which the Thais usually call Maravichai, literally "Victory over Mara". Throughout the world, it is better known under the Sanskrit name Maravijaya, which means "Winner of Mara". The popularity of this image is due to the fact that it reflects the most important moment in the life of the Buddha Shakyamuni, namely the achievement of enlightenment. Buddha is depicted sitting in Padmasana ("lotus position"), his left hand resting on his left knee with palm outward, while the right hand hangs at the right knee, touching the earth by fingertips. The position of the left hand is Dhyanamudra ("gesture of contemplation"), and the position of the right hand is Bhumisparshamudra ("gesture of touching the ground"). The Bhumisparshamudra reminds of the victory of Buddha Shakyamuni over the temptations of Mara, the demon of worldly pleasures. According to legendary descriptions, Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became a hermit, began his great seven-week meditation, sitting under a Bodhi tree. Mara tried in every possible way to stop Siddhartha, sending his beautiful daughters to seduce him, then terrible warriors for intimidation. But Siddhartha remained completely impassive. Slightly touching the ground (bhumi) with his right hand, Siddhartha called the goddess of the earth to witness his righteousness. In response, the earth hesitated, trembled in six directions and destroyed the demonic army washing it off with a powerful water flow. The iconographic image of Maravijaya symbolizes the enlightenment of Buddha and his victory over Mara as an accomplished fact. The Thai tradition is also characterized by the use of Virasana ("winner's posture"), in which the right foot of the Buddha lies on top of the left.