This seated Buddha, which is of good condition, is made of wood, preserved in lacquer and decorated with gold leaf. He sits with the soles of his feet in his lap, with his left hand in dhyanamudra (meditation), and the right hand in bhumisparsamudra (touching the earth). The fingers are exaggeratedly long. The robe on the chest is plain, but over the legs forms rippling drapery. The face is rectangular and indicates influence from the medieval style developed at Pagan. The eyebrows are stylized and almost form an ‘L’-shaped outline. An inscription around the base reads in English ‘Sitting Budh or Buddha. A Burmese Idol’. It has been suggested that this was inscribed after the sculpture reached Exeter (Isaacs 2000:130).
The donor of the piece was Captain Truscott of the East India Company Army who acquired it during the 1st Anglo-Burmese War (1824-6).
Although a date of late 18th/early 19th century has been suggested, an exact provenance is unknown (Isaacs 2000:130). The piece is significant to the collection and has been documented in ‘Vision from the Golden Land, Burma and the Art of Lacquer’ (Isaacs 2000:130). There is almost an exact copy currently in the British Museum.
On 6 September 2022 RAMM hosted ten internationally renowned writers, poets and spoken word artists as part of a partnership with the Museum of Colour. The Museum of Colour is a digital museum that explores the contribution made by People of Colour to the nation’s culture, specifically in film, television and the arts. Mona Arshi, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Fred D'Aguiar, Jennifer Lee Tsai, Adam Lowe, Shivanee Ramlochan, Jacob Sam-La Rose, John Siddique, Yomi Sode and Yusra Warsama performed specially written pieces, influenced and inspired by objects in the collections at RAMM accompanied by live music from composer Randolph Matthews. The event is part of Museum of Colour's exhibition 'My Words', celebrating the legacy of poets of Colour in Britain over 250 years. John Siddique wrote a poem in response to this statue https://museumofcolour.org.uk/my-words/response-gallery/john-siddique?piece=8
This object is on display at RAMM in the World Cultures gallery.