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On This Day… The Emerald Buddha

Written by: George Chittenden : 09 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 22nd March, back in 1784 when Bangkok’s Emerald Buddha was moved to its current home in the Ubosoth of the Wat Phra Kaew temple complex in the precincts of the Grand Palace. Moving the buddha to its new home was a huge occasion with lots of pomp and pageantry. The Emerald Buddha is a figurine of the meditating Buddha seated in yogic posture.

It is made of semi-precious green stone (jade or jasper rather than emerald) and is clothed in gold. Art historians describe the Emerald Buddha as belonging to the Chiang Saen Style and date its construction to the 15th century. Sources indicate that the statue surfaced in northern Thailand in 1434. Some interesting stories exist on how it was created.

One account says that lightning struck a Monastery, in Chiang Rai, and in the ruins the Emerald Buddha was revealed. Prior to being moved to Bangkok, the buddha had been kept in Vientiane. It had been held there for 214 years, ever since King Setthathirath had taken it there in 1564.

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