The Smaragd- or Emerald-Buddha.
The Smaragd-Buddha is in fact carved from a block of green jade.
First discovered in 1434 in a stupa in Chiang Rai. When the King of Chiang Mai, Samfangkaem heard of the discovery,
he sent some elephants to take the image. The elephants carrying the treasure refused to take the route back to Chiang Mai however, instead heading south towards Lampang.
The King of Chiang Mai had no sons. His daughter was
married to King of Laos and had a son named Chaichettha. After the King died in 1551, the prince, at the age of fifteen, was invited to become the King of Chiangmai. However, when his father, the King of Laos, died, King
Chaichettha wanted to return to his own country.
In 1552 he returned to Luang Prabang, then the capital of Laos, and took the Smaragd-Buddha with him.
He promised the ministers he would return to Chiang Mai, but
he never did nor did he send back the Smaragd-Buddha. In 1564 King was chased out of Luang Prabang by Burmese army of King Bayinnaung and took the Smaragd-Buddha with him to his new capital of Vientiane.
So the Smaragd-Buddha remained there for 214 years.
In 1778, the King of Thonburi sent a punitive expedition to Vientiane. At that time, King Rama I was still a general
during the Thonburi period, he captured the town Vientiane and brought the Smaragd-Buddha back to Thailand, of which the King of Thonburi was very proud.
Today thousands of Buddhists pay their respects in front of
the fabled image.
The picture left show the Smaragd-Buddha in Winter dress.