The classic Buddha images of Thailand were produced towards the end of the Sukhothai era. Ethereal, androgynous figures with ovoid faces and feline expressions, they depict not a Buddha meditating to achieve enlightenment – the more usual representation – but an already enlightened Buddha: the physical realization of an abstract, “unworldly” state. Though they produced mainly seated Buddhas, Sukhothai artists are renowned for having pioneered the walking Buddha, one of four postures described in ancient Pali texts but without precedent in Thailand.

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