Fine vintage carved boxwood Buddha (10 in. tall) - from the Villa Del Prado Light of Asia Collection

Wood Carvings in Asian Art

Wood has long been a premier medium for the carving of statues of the Shakyamuni Buddha and other deities. Relatively easy to work with and inexpensive to obtain, wood can be carved in intricate detail to depict the many detailed features of the Buddha's face, robe and hair. The natural grains of various woods which can be polished to a high luster impart great beauty and uniqueness to each piece.

carved wood Buddha from Laos with traces of gilt (6 in. tall) - 18th C - from the Villa Del Prado Light of Asia Collection The densest hardwoods like ebony and rosewood have an exceptional finish and grain and can stand up very well over time given the proper storage and treatment. Medium grades of hardwood like boxwood, huongwood and mahogany also permit great detail and finish to be imparted to the finished work. Camphor wood, pine, cypress, incense wood and many other forms of wood are also commonly used in Buddhist art.

Wood carved statues of Shakyamuni Buddha have been used on altars and alcoves in the hundreds of thousands of Buddhist temples throughout Asia for millennia. Many of these ancient wood carved temple statues have found their way to the west over the centuries and are highly prized by collectors.

Japanese Buddha -  exceptional boxwood carving (11.5 in. tall) - Meiji period late 19th C - from the Villa Del Prado Light of Asia Collection Wood carvings from the Meiji period in Japan (1868-1912) exhibit some of the finest detail work done anywhere in the world. The statues often come in several pieces. The figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, a lotus pedestal and a nimbus or backdrop are often carved separately and fitted together for display. Meiji Art has enjoyed a huge surge in recognition in the art world today, and fine Meiji wood carvings are in great demand by collectors worldwide. The prominent collector Dr. Nasser Khalili has assembled the world's premier collection of Meiji art comprised of more than 1,000 pieces of metalwork, enamels, lacquer work, and ceramics.

Reclining Buddha - masterfully carved of hardwood from Bali artist (10 in. long) - from the Villa Del Prado Light of Asia Collection Fine wood carvings of the Buddha come from every corner of Asia from southern India, to Tibet, Thailand, Laos, Japan and China. Wood carvers in Bali and Malaysia are doing some exceptionally fine work today. The great detail work and immaculate artistic interpretations of these talented artisans are unmatched in the west.

Closeups of the statues on this page and every sculpture in the Villa Del Prado Light of Asia Collection can be found on the main page.

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