Figurine; Brass Buddha card

Figurine; Brass Buddha

58.83.539a

On display

Information

Brass statue of Shakyamuni or Historical Buddha stated to come from Thibaw's Palace in Mandalay, Burma (now Myanmar). Buddha shown seated in yogic, meditational pose with right hand, palm down, shown reaching for earth in earth-witnessing or bhumisparsa mudra. Left hand is empty. Buddha's robe with pleats folded over the legs and at left shoulder. Hair has been left without gilt. Buddha sits on a plain pedestal or throne. In 1885, the British invaded Upper Burma in the Third Anglo-Burmese War to depose the King because they felt he was not co-operating with British traders and diplomatic relations had collapsed. Some 9,000 British and Indian troops, commanded by General Prendergast advanced towards the capital of Mandalay and the King’s palace. The capital was surrendered with little resistance and King Thibaw was taken prisoner. The 2nd Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, commanded by Colonel Le Mesurier, escorted King Thibaw and his family to the British Headquarters in Madras. The family were then exiled to South West India where King Thibaw died in 1916. Officially the British Army won the Third Anglo-Burmese War within a fortnight, and by the beginning of 1886, they annexed the country. The Burmese royal family was exiled to India and the country absorbed into the British Empire. However, the Burmese people and the army continued to resist British rule and rioting and unrest continued well into the 20th century. The country achieved independence in 1948, later reverting to the name Myanmar, but the legacy of Imperial rule is still felt today in modern Myanmar. The three Buddha statuettes in the King’s Regiment Collection were taken by Colonel H. H. Harvey-Kelly. Looting was commonplace amongst soldiers to supplement their income and the ‘booty’ was considered a reward for their action in battles. In fact many of the more precious Burmese royal possessions were seized by the British Authorities and shipped back to England. The Officers and wives of the King’s Regiment were quartered in the palace and the Colonel’s son Charles was born there. Charles gifted the Buddhas to the Regiment in 1941.