The finest arts and crafts from Thailand and South East Asia

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Buddhas - keeping it legal

We've often had customers contact us, enquiring about purchasing a Buddha statue, as they had their own confiscated at the airport in Bangkok when they tried to take it out of the country. Exporting Buddha statues from Thailand is illegal, unless done with an export license. Legal penalties can also be much worse than just confiscation.

A worthwhile headache

Exporting Thai Buddhas is illegal unless it is done under license from the Department of Fine Arts in the Ministry of Culture. All Farang Buddhas are imported under licence from Thailand.

It is illegal to export Buddhas from Thailand without such licensing - we are one of the few retailers in Europe (we are not actually specifically aware of anybody else who has obtained the appropriate licenses), who have managed to obtain Buddha licences. The licensing process is tedious - and involves expense, administration and sometimes long delays, but at the end of the day, this helps to ensure that Thailand's cultural heritage is protected and that legally exported Buddhas use appropriate designs, and that antique Buddhas are protected. We support this practice.

Most of the Buddhas which have been through the licensing process come with labels indicating they have been approved. 

This label is issued by the Department of Fine Arts in the Ministry of Culture in Thailand and authorises the export of this buddha. The tag carries the department's metal seal. The label can be easily removed from the Buddha.

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