Thai bird man
by AsianArtMuseum, published
Mythical bird-man, approx. 1775-1850
Wood with remnants of lacquer, gilding and mirrored glass inlay
Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation's Southeast Asian Art Collection, 2006.27.24
Mythical bird-men and -women are among the the wondrous creatures that inhabit the Eden-like Himavanta Forest of Buddhist legend. They are frequently depicted in Thai sculptures, paintings, and other mediums.
Wooden figures such as this were used in several sorts of royal ceremonies. One such statue is mentioned in the description of the coronation of King Rama IV in 1851, where it is said to have contained a relic of the Buddha. The custom of using such figures in royal ceremonies most likely went back centuries.
Such statues have rarely survived, and only a handful are known. Several are in the National Museum, Bangkok.
The spire of the figure's crown was replaced at some point, presumably in the twentieth century.
Scanned using the 123D Catch iPhone app, repaired using Meshmixer and mirrored symmetrically.
Print with support material for the overhanging arms and wings.