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Jim Thompson House
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The James H.W. Thompson Foundation
Thai Architectural Style
Fascinating Aspects of the Thai Style House
Construction of the Thai House
Art & Antique Collection
Burmese wooden figures

The sculpture in the house is Southeast Asian, principally from Thailand and Cambodia, with a few pieces from Burma. The collection consists of Buddha images and fragments covering fourteen centuries and contains some of the finest pieces reflecting the principal styles in Southeast Asian art.

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Limestone torso of the Buddha, Dvaravati school, displayed in the open area under the dining room wing of the house. Dating from the late 7th or 8th century AD, this torso was found at Lopburi Province in Central Thailand.
Jim Thompson's Collection of Buddhist Art
  Thompson was fascinated by the degrees of subtlety on the seemingly stylized faces. This fascinated him and he gradually developed a great admiration for Buddha images. Subsequently he began to collect Buddhist Art.  
Buddha meditating on a naga (serpent). Carved from beige sandstone, the 80cm. tall statue is of the Lopburi School - 13th century and came from the Supanburi Province in Thailand. The thoughtful face with closed eyes helps to identify the piece as being an example of Bayon art.
Bust of Buddha in brown limestone from the Lopburi region - Dvaravati School, 8th century. The wide face with a strong nose and fleshy lips, round eyes and arched and joined eyebrows are very characteristic of the Dvaravati School.

Head of Buddha in beige sandstone, Ayutthaya School, U-Thong style, end of the 13th century.

The hairstyle of small curls topped by a flame-decorated ornament, finely edged. A wide face with a strong chin, a wide mouth, slightly arched brows, and half-closed eyes convey serenity. All of these characteristics are evidence of close links with the Lopburi School.

Buddha images, Ayutthaya School, 18th century
Buddhist Postures and Sculptural Symbolism

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  Four basic postures are often portrayed.  
  • Standing, sitting and walking - reflecting the daily activities of the Lord Buddha such as teaching, meditating and offering refuge to his disciples.
  • Reclining
    This posture represents Buddha's final moments when he had attained 'ultimate nirvana'.
Maravijaya Buddha of the Lopburi School
(13th- 14th century)
Bhumisparsa or "Touching the Earth" or Maravijaya or "Victory over Mara"

The hand position signifies the meditation stage in the life of Buddha when he sat beneath the banyan tree in Bodhgaya, India and vowed not to budge until he had gained enlightenment.

Standing Buddha, Lopburi School, 12th century. The hands are in the Abahaya Mudra position, a gesture displaying the 'absence of fear'

Dhyana or Meditation

Both hands rest palms up on the Buddha's lap, with the right hand on the top to signify meditation.

Abhaya or "No fear"

One or both hands are extended forward, palms out with fingers pointing upward, symbolic of Buddha's offer of protection or freedom from fear. This hand position (mudra) accompanies the standing or walking posture.

Calling For Rain

The arms of the standing image extend straight downward on each side with the palms facing the thighs. Among Buddhists, this pose signifies a call for rain to nourish the rice field.


Sculptures Paintings Porcelain Other Collectibles