Burmese Buddha Art Shan style is a fusion of styles highly influenced by its close neighbors in Thailand with whom they share a sizeable border along with Laos and China. Shan ethnic groups are found in all of these countries including India. Shan State occupies the largest area in Myanmar, with several minority groups. Buddhism and Buddhist art in the Shan State is concentrated more in the lowland areas. The hill tribes in the highland areas of the Shan State consist of several ethnic minority groups, many of whom are Christians.
The Shan people of Burma are thought to have originated from the Yunnan area of far west southern China in the 6th Century A.D. There is evidence that trade with their neighbors thrived from as early as 700 B.C through to 400 A.D.
The Shan people are probably the most numerous and widely diffused Indo-Chinese race, they occupy the valleys and plateau of the broad belt of mountainous country that leave the Himalayas, and trends South easterly between Burma proper on the west, and China and Cambodia in the east and down to the Gulf of Siam.
The last Shan kingdom was overthrown by the Burman King Anawrahta, between 1050AD and 1060AD in an endeavor to unite the various ethnic groups into one nation. Prior to King Anawrahta’s rule there were nine Shan kingdoms recorded in early Burmese history.
Later the Shan established their capital at Pinya in upper Myanmar after which it was transferred to Ava around 1312. Works of art and Buddhist iconography produced by the Shan is evident in artifacts found in the Shan plateau valleys dating back to prehistoric times.
Sharing a border with Laos, Thailand and China which has played a big part in the diversity of Buddhist art and imagery originating from the Shan state. Whether it be a classic Shan Buddha statue with a simple monks robe, or to the more ornate gilded style with glass mosaics and thayo lacquer decoration, they are recognizably a Shan Buddha statue.