Thai Buddha Characteristics

Thai Buddha – What Characteristics Make Up A Buddha from Thailand?

A Thai Buddha is distinguished from other Buddhas because of a few key characteristics. Generally Thai Buddhas are similar to a Buddha from say, India – because that is the same Buddha that Thai people believe in. However, the Gautama Buddha anorexic Buddha that Indians are so fond of is not found much at all here in Thailand – and I’ve found that Buddha representation only in art.

Thai Buddha representations come from the Theravada Buddhist tradition and have some similarities – and characteristics that will help you identify whether you’re looking at a Thai Buddha or not.

Characteristics of a Thai Buddha:

  • Usually a Thai Buddha is gold. There are on occasion found white or silver Thai Buddhas in Thailand – but not often. 99% of Buddhas found in Thailand are gold – 14k, 18k, 24k or plated. To Thais, gold is the color that fits Buddha and rarely is a different color used for Buddha.
  • Often times there will be a spiral hierarchy of metal rings above the Thai Buddha’s head. Especially in Buddha statues found here in Thailand.
  • A Thai Buddha often has ears that are bigger than ‘normal’. A large set of ears signifies wisdom in Thailand. Even people with big earlobes – are considered wise.
  • A Thai Buddha is often found sitting on a coiled naga – serpent, or snake. This signifies his mastery over evil and things that may persuade others to go against right speech, right knowledge, right action.
  • Thai Buddhas are usually oversized if a statue. There are some humongous Buddha statues in Thailand.
  • Thai Buddha that is laying down is common.
  • Thai Buddhas have Buddha sitting in a half-lotus meditation position usually and with hands lightly touching each other.
  • A Thai Buddha will often be found meditating inside a lotus flower.
  • A Thai Buddha is not anorexic skinny like the Indians seem to prefer to portray him, nor is he overly fat and laughing – that is the Chinese representation of Buddha. A Thai Buddha is generally of normal weight and proportions except ears, hands and feet may be unusually large when compared to a person.
  • Some Thai Buddha statues have Buddha with penetrating black eyes staring down at the viewer. The eyes seem to follow you as you move.

These are general characteristics of a Thai Buddha and there are more subtle characteristics but I think these are the main ones I’ve noticed over the years. If you have something to add here feel free to email us and we’ll consider it!

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