The Golden Buddha, officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon is the world's largest solid gold statue. It is located in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok (district of Samphanthawong, in Chinatown), Thailand.
The origins of this statue remain uncertain. It is made in the Sukhothai Dynasty style, and is thought to have been made during the Sukhothai period in the 13th-14th centuries, though it could have been made after that time.
The head of the statue is egg-shaped, which indicates its origin in the Sukothai period. Sukothai art had Indian influences. Metal figures of the Buddha made in India used to be taken to various countries for installation. So the Golden Buddha statue may have been cast in parts in India.
Discovery of the gold statue
In 1954, a new Viharn building was built at the Temple, so it was decided to house the statue there. The statue was being moved to its new location on 25 May 1955. There are a variety of accounts of what exactly happened during the move. But it is clear that, during the final attempt to lift the statue from its pedestal, the ropes holding the statue broke, and the statue fell down hard on the ground.
At that time, some of the plaster coating of the statue chipped off, allowing the gold surface underneath to be seen. So this is how the real statue beneath the plaster was revealed. The work was immediately stopped so that the full evaluation could be made.
The statue is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall and weights 5.5 tonnes (5.4 long tons; 6.1 short tons). The statue was housed in a wat in Ayutthaya until mid 19th century, and its provenance from Ayutthaya excludes the possibility of it having been made after about 1750. At US$1,400 per troy ounce, the gold in the statue (18 karat) is estimated to be worth $250 million dollars.
The Buddha is represented in the traditional pose of Bhumisparsha Mudra (touching the earth with the right hand to witness Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment at Bodh Gaya). The original statues of Sukhothai sit on a common pedestal form. The flame that crowns the ushnisha is an innovation of Sukhothai that symbolises the splendour of spiritual energy.