Burmese Buddha Shan style – Developed through interaction since early times with ethnic groups from Thailand (Siam). Thai artisans and craftsmen migrated to Burma and other parts of Asia bringing with them their own style of Buddha image which eventually merged with the Burmese style. Many Shan style Buddha statues have a Thai influence and are referred to as Tai Yai style.
The Tai people of Burma are called Shan, but strangely enough the Shan refer to themselves as Tai, their language is very similar to Thai although written Shan is similar to Burmese. Thai people are descendants of Shan tribes from the Northern part of Myanmar, Shan ethnic groups are also found in Laos and Vietnam.
Tai people also migrated to areas of China, they are referred to as Dai people, this also added another dimension to the Shan style Buddha images from Burma.
The Burmese Shan style Buddha can be seen in many different forms from plain to those adorned in royal attire with crowns, side flanges and jewellery with an elongated torso and narrow waistline, often seated on a high throne. Tai Yai images of the Buddha using the hollow lacquer technique as well as teak wood are highly decorated with Thayo Lacquer resembling fish scales and glass mosaics, these Buddha statues are mostly gilded with gold leaf.