Deeper knowledge of the pieces in our collection is one of the great pleasures of the collector… and of the antique dealer. Nothing is more gratifying than to put the statues or objects into context, by going to discover the places where they were created.
Trip through… Burma and the 1000 pagodas of In Dein
During our last trip through Burma, we came upon a fascinating place, little known because it was closed to foreigners for many years: the village of In Dein and the thousand stupas of the Alaungsitthou pagoda, built as from the 11th century and especially in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Departure from the Inle Lake, in a motorised pirogue, toward the south-west, beyond Ywama. An hour’s crossing, in the bends and curves of a fairly narrow river, brings us to In Dein.
First contact with the Pa-O people, at the border of the lands of the Karen (see Karen jewellery by clicking here), who were in open rebellion against the Burmese government for a long time.
We take a wooden bridge and meet the first Pa-O women, easily recognisable because of their multicolour turbans, knotted above their heads, and their black clothing.
Here we are at the foot of a long covered stairway, 600 metres in length, upheld by 280 marble pillars. It is wide enough to house the market of people from the hills who come down to the village. But the most astonishing is that we notice, on either side of the stairway, pagodas and stupas in Thai style, partly hidden in the vegetation! Naturally, we go closer: the first impression is gripping. The entries are decorated with worshippers and divinities sculpted in sandstone, some of which have magnificent asparas above them. Others are protected by elephants, carved into the stone. The warm colour of the rock is enriched by a limpid sky and the rays of the late afternoon sun. A magical scene, this forest of small temples devoured by luxuriant vegetation…
Nearing the entrance of the stupas, we can make out the shapes of Buddhas. Whereas most of the asparas and other divinities are remarkably well preserved, most of the Buddhas are unfortunately in a state of deliquescence. Effectively, they were crafted in stucco, a material that allows the creation of incredibly expressive faces, with a superb patina, thanks to layers of lacquer that penetrate the stucco over time… and make it more fragile.
As the photos show, the heads are very eroded, some lie on the ground, left to natural degradation.
An unreal site, charged with emotions, where exaltation mingles with sadness to see so many treasures in a state of total abandonment.
We were able to acquire, from a Thai collector, stucco Buddha heads whose iconography is very close, if not similar, to those of the In Dein site (see these pieces on our internet site)… We would like to see these superb Buddhas preserved in their original sites, but acquiring a few of these pieces allows the intact conservation of some elements that bear witness to these unique places.
Suffuse yourself with the beauty of these faces on our site… The pieces themselves await you at our gallery… But these Buddhas propose that it is your turn for an encounter, who knows, in In Dein, on the banks of the lake of floating gardens…