Sexy Beast: Is the Laotian Fighter Statue Real?

In the second episode of Paramount+’s crime drama series ‘Sexy Beast,’ Gal Dove and Don Logan team up together to steal a statue for Teddy Bass. After stealing the thing, Gal grows curious about it and his curiosity leads him to a friend who introduces him to the history of the statue. He finds out that what he possesses is a Laotian fighter statue, which belonged to the royal family of Laos. Gal’s friend also adds that the statue is so valuable that over twenty people were killed during the raid to find the missing possession!

The Laotian Fighter Statue is Fictional

The Laotian fighter statue in the series is a fictional prop conceived for the crime drama. However, it is modeled after the Buddhist statues that can be seen all across the country of Laos. The Buddhist statues in the region have an oval crown structure on the head of Buddha with or without a pointy part. The structure is called, according to Buddhism, “Ushnisha.” The Ushnisha symbolizes the spiritual power of Buddha’s enlightenment. Such a three-dimensional part can be seen on the top of the Laotian fighter statue as well.

What differentiates the statue in the series and the real Buddhist statues in Laos is the way the hands of the figure are arranged in the former. In the series, the statue’s hands are pressed together. However, in most of the Buddhist statues in Laos, the hands of Buddha are in the “bhūmisparsa mudrā.” In the statues with bhumisparsha mudra, the right hand of Buddha is on the right knee, inward, reaching toward the ground. The left hand can be seen upward on the lap. According to Buddhism, the mudra “represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment,” as per Original Buddhas.

Image Credit: Gerd Eichmann/Wikimedia Commons

The Buddha statue that belonged to the royal family of Laos is still situated in the royal palace, which is a museum now. The statue is an eighty-three-centimeter-long high-standing Buddha with palms facing forward, which is larger and different from the statue in the series. According to the legends, the statue was cast in bronze, gold, and silver in Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka. The statue of Buddha in the palace is referred to as “Phra Bang,” the palladium of Laos. Every Lao New Year or Pimai, the Phra Bang is taken to a temple named Wat Mai and is displayed at a shrine.

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