With regards to the arts, King Jayavarman VII was responsible for the construction of numerous temples in the Angkor region and in other provinces. King Jayavarman VII was further championed as the greatest king of Angkor for liberating and unifying the country. His legacy lives on today as many of the structures remaining today within Angkor Wat were built during his reign. At the center of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple, famous for its distinct 50 towers, each bearing the large faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshavara on all four sides. These faces are thought to be copied from the actual face of King Jayavarman VII, whose smiles are so gentle that it is often referred to as the Khmer smile. This great king was a devout Buddhist of the Mahayana sect.
“Wishing you happiness as big as Ganesh’s appetite
Life as long as his trunk
Trouble as small as his mouse
And moments as sweet as his laddus”
The celebration of the birthday of Lord Ganesh is right around the corner, to be held on September 19, 2012. Preparations are underway for the Ganesh festival and many devotees are opting to make their own, eco-friendly, clay Ganesh statues at home. Ganesh Chathuri, a day filled with public celebrations and home worship, lasts for ten days, and ends with a Ganesh idol immersion. The water immersion ceremony during Chathuri is called Ganesh Visarjana (Sanskrit for ‘departure’). Clay images of Ganesh are ceremoniously dissolved in the ocean or other bodies of water, signifying Ganesh’s withdrawal into all-pervasive consciousness. Hindus believe that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth this day, and worshiping him will bring prosperity, good fortune, and fulfillment of desires.
To start a new tradition, with family or friends, create your own clay idol at home. The Ganesh statue does not have to be perfect, just be proud of your idol, enjoy the process and have faith.
“Let all the peace, all the light, all the goodness which the Deity inspires, become part of the parcel of your being.”
1. Modeling clay – ready-to-use, moist clay found at any craft store
2. Rolling pin
3. Base for your statue – wooden board is preferred, as it doesn’t stick
4. Exacto knife or sharp-pointed pencil
5. Aluminum foil
6. Paints, glitter, white thread for the poonal or Jandhyam (optional)
1. Separate your clay into sections to represent Ganesh’s body, head, legs, arms, ears and trunk
2. Roll out the largest section of clay into a thin sheet and use it to cover a ball of aluminum foil. This will represent Ganesh’s body and bulbous belly.
3. Roll smaller balls of clay to make his head, ears and trunk. Attach his head to the body – using a lot of water to paste and shape.
4. Make two clay horseshoe-shapes. Use for his legs – cross legs at base of Ganesh for lotus posture. Use another horseshoe-shape to use as arms and attach to body at shoulder level. Form the arms so they adjust at elbows with right angles; the right hand palm turned up.
5. For the ears, make two flat coin-like structures and attach to head.
6. Roll out clay for his trunk and keep it in proportion of his body. The trunk should be wider at top, and narrows down to curve halfway down to his waist. Smooth and add the ‘three patte’ lines on the trunk and forehead with a knife or pencil.
7. To finish, knead, smooth and shape the entire clay idol. Use a Ganesh sculpture or image as a reference guide.
8. Wait until Ganesh is completely dried and paint, use glitter, beads or various accessories.
Please feel free to email photos of your home-made Ganesh clay sculptures to [email protected] Lotus Sculpture would love to share your creations or helpful hints.
“I just love making Buddhas.”
I love meeting people with true passion. Passion for anything; painting, traveling, their children. Six years ago I was very fortunate to meet someone passionate about making Thai Buddha statues and his name is Jeuw.
In my first 4 years of traveling through Thailand I spent every waking hour of every day I was there looking for good honest people who make great Buddha statues for my budding business, Lotus Sculpture. Every year I was disappointed and had to settle for doing business with a factory who made quality, yet uninspired Buddha statues.
6 years ago while meandering through an amulet market in Bangkok I stumbled upon a great little shop full of beautiful Buddha statues that had both a sense of peace and radiated energy. They were not typical of the Buddhas sold anywhere else in the market. I was giddy from the start. Did I just find the people that I have been looking for the past 4 years? I stayed and enjoyed the day with the mother and wife of the owner who was away at the workshop. I made plans to come back the next day to meet the owner, Jeuw, and to go to see where he makes his Buddhas. When I met Jeuw I was outright ecstatic! He was young and passionate. In the hour and half drive to the outskirts of Bangkok to see his workshop I could feel that he was just as excited as I was. He was telling me about himself in his broken English and I was doing the same in my broken Thai. One thing I remember from our first meeting was that he was not trying to sell me anything. He was continually pointing out the Buddha statues that he loved and that he was proud of making. “No one else has this style. I am the only one making this Buddha.” he kept saying. And he was right. No one else has his quality and style in making Buddhas. Jeuw’s father started the workshop 25 years ago and Jeuw just took over the day to day operations of the workshop. He was very happy to have their first and only foreign customer!
Besides the beautiful proportions and style of the Buddha statues Jeuw is a master of patina. He can make any statue have the most beautiful antique patina. I noticed this immediately that the color of his Buddhas was so authentic and stunning to look at. Even in his smaller Buddhas there is care given to the color of the piece. For this reason many known “Antique” shops in Bangkok purchase his Buddha statues. They sell his newly made sculpture as antiques to foreign tourists. I have seen many shops selling antiques in Bangkok that are not antique at all.
Six years later our relationship has grown immensely. Each year he shows me other styles he is making and Buddhas he had in mind for the future. Each night after our business is done we go out to a dinner on the Khoa Praya river in Bangkok and just talk Buddhas and life. One thing he reinforced to me was the passion he carries with him about Buddhas. “I just love making Buddhas.” He told me to start on my personal collection of Thai Buddha statues which I have done. He told me that there is no one else in Thailand who makes Buddhas like him. The younger generation has no interest in making Buddha statues and he feels that when he gets older there will not be anyone else who will carry on with his passion for the sculptures. I do hope he is wrong.
Lotus Sculpture has been blessed to have such a good person with Love for his Art and Lord Buddha supplying us with all our Thai Buddha statues. I’m looking forward to the next shipment of statues which should be arriving October, 2012.
Click here to view all Jeuw’s Thai Buddha statues.
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
With summer in full swing, it is a pleasant time to enjoy nature and relax in your garden. A way to enhance and bring tranquility to any environment is to place a Buddha statue, particularly a portrayal of Buddha in a meditative state. The positive and peaceful energy of a Zen Buddha sculpture helps keep you in balance and harmony.
First, to accentuate your garden, and to create the best possible chi energy, the meditating Buddha should be seated on a pedestal off the ground. With the lotus throne, or padmasana, this position signifies gratitude and humility. Typically, the Buddha’s hands lies in his lap, one over the other, with thumb tips touching. This is known as dhyana mudra of meditation.
Another step is to plant with odd numbers in your garden to create balance and “yang”. Yang, which refers to the “sunny side”, is a masculine symbol and reflects the sun and day time. Since odd numbers are yang, they are considered auspicious, with a multiple of nine bringing the most positive energy.
Most of the large, stone garden Buddha statues at Lotus Sculpture are one-of-a-kind; created by artists in Bali. They are hand carved from lava stone, which is quarried from the volcanic mountains of Indonesia. The lava stone is a solid stone that is perfect for any type of location and weather conditions – hot or cold, wet or dry. The stone is versatile in that it can be colored in a wide spectrum of colors. It can also be polished or unpolished giving it a clean or rough feel. In humid conditions, when left untouched, it takes on a very mysterious, antique-look as you would see in the temple ruins of South East Asia.
As a Thai customs formality, Buddha sculptures are restricted to be exported from Thailand. The original law was established to protect Thailand’s ancient religious artifacts and antique Buddha images from being stolen and sold illegally. Until recently, this law was not actively enforced on newly made Buddha statues. Vendors could easily ship Thai Buddhas throughout the world.
- “In November 2010, Lotus Sculpture experienced one of our containers filled with Buddha sculptures being confiscated en route to the USA by Thai customs officials.”
In November 2010, Lotus Sculpture experienced one of our containers filled with Buddha sculptures being confiscated en route to the USA by Thai customs officials. It was a complete loss with no way to get the confiscated sculptures back. The USA’s Patriot Act has paid for a large X-Ray machines to examine every container shipped from Bangkok to the US. When US or Thai officials scan a container and see outlines of Buddha statues they now confiscate the contents of the container. This may lead to an end of importing Thai Buddhist images altogether, which would be a tragedy to all involved; Buddhists who worship Lord Buddha; business who sell Buddha statues; and especially for the artists who rely on selling Buddhist art to earn a living.