The construction over at the Asian Civilisation Museum was very disappointed actually. Only one level of artworks at the second level was able for viewing. Nevertheless, it was always a new experience every time I go to a museum. I was glad that this trip was done with a tour guide. In fact, I always enjoy art history a little bit more with a good guide with good knowledge. Marie, our tour guide is actually a scientist! Even though her main background is not related to the arts, she does have a minor in art history and I can see in her love for art history through her expression and how excited she gets in describing each artefacts.
I have been to the Asian Civilisation Museum a few times but I always see new object with each visit , such as this.
This sculpture immediately caught my attention due to the double abhaya mudra, which I have never seen before! I only managed to snap a picture but not the description, how sad is that. I managed to show it to Sujatha and she mention that this double mudra was unique to the region of Laos. That was enough for me to make further research about it.
I am sure all of you remember that the mudra above is the Abhaya Mudra which symbolises ‘no fear’ or ‘fearlessness’. I did some research online and the double Abhaya Mudra actually means ‘no war’ or ‘don’t fight’.
In a region that has suffered colonialism, civil war and the largest bombing mission throughout the American-Vietnam war, this is a particularly poignant symbol.
I find this very interesting and it shows how a culture or even a history background can influence how a sculpture is shape and designed. By making the double Abhaya Mudra sculpture on the buddha statue, these locals somehow get a sense of peace and closure knowing that the religion is able to keep them in peace of mind. I find more similar buddha statue online and here is some of it.
This sculpture above is actually from Thailand, a country around the same region as Laos, right below Laos actually. As you can see this buddha is decorated very elaborately. In this case, the double abhaya mudra symbolises “calming the ocean” by the Thais. This story has to do with the Buddha performing a miracle by stopping a rainstorm and flooding in the presence of the three arrogant hermits. Having seen the miracle, they submitted to the Lord Buddha and listened to his sermon. The three hermits and their 1,000 followers were so impressed with the preaching that they were willingly ordained as monks. Again, this shows different region has a different belief in how Buddha represent the religion. This is very interesting as different people make different stories towards their religion and sculpture to make them closer to the religion.
I uploaded the picture I took of the buddha statue on Facebook and one of my friend commented me and it was one of those epic comments. He upload a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo doing his normal goal celebration called the calma celebration. Which was really interesting because it does look like the double abhaya mudra! The celebration was actually to taunt the fans to calm down and saying that he got this.
The double abhaya mudra also reminds me of the Solat that Muslim make 5 times a day. Before we begin praying, we put two hands facing the front before we fold them into our chest area. The image below shows just that. It doesn’t mean anything related to the Buddha but I thought it was interesting how a ‘hand pose’ could represent and tell different thing or story.