Title:Walking BuddhaArtist:Artist UnknownDate:Late Sukhothai periodCreation Place:Asia, ThailandCredit Line:The William Hood Dunwoody FundAccession Number:31.115
The walking Buddha is a sculpture type that flourished in Thailand’s Sukhothai kingdom during the 14th and 15th centuries. The Buddha, born Prince Sidartha, renounced his wealth and spent the rest of his life teaching throughout northern India. The Suhkothai Buddha image portrayed him simply and elegantly, with his heel lifted and eyes lowered, practicing walking meditation. Walking is one of four postures prescribed for meditational exercises in ancient Theravada Buddhist texts.
Sukhothai artists were the first to create walking Buddha sculptures fully in the round. The type, however, has its roots in earlier images illustrating the Buddha descending from Tavatimsa heaven on a special ladder, after spending months there teaching his mother, who had died 7 days after his birth. It might also refer to the Buddha walking up and down a golden bridge in the third week following his Enlightenment.