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geronimo

Taking a Buddhist statue out of the country

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Hi, a friend of mine was given a Buddha statue (about 30cm high) and he wants to know if he can take this through customs at Suwwanaphum airport without any problem.

Thx in advance

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Can be a big problem even if it is just a cement reproduction.

Years ago, a friend bought a beautiful cement statue of a woman in Bali and brought it to Bangkok where he installed it into his garden. Though not a Buddha, it is in the traditional temple statue style.

This year he moved back to the US and consigned the statue along with some other goods to a shipper in Bangkok for shipment back to the US.

The shipper has been trying for six months to get this statue cleared for shipping but so far, the "Antiquities" inspectors at customs say "No", even though it did not originate in Thailand and is a cement reproduction.

Along with the legitimate concern of genuine Thai antiquities being exported, Thais are very concerned about Buddhist images being used inappropriately. I once took a tour of the famous "Jim Thompson House" with a group of Thais. They were disturbed that so many of the Buddhist statues were displayed on low tables and in other inappropriate ways, as decor, not as a symbol of worship,

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Should not be a problem in checked baggage, its not an antique and you are a buddhist.

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Hi, a friend of mine was given a Buddha statue (about 30cm high) and he wants to know if he can take this through customs at Suwwanaphum airport without any problem.

Thx in advance

Instruction on the Export of Antiquities or Buddha Images from the Kingdom of Thailand

Buddha images, Bodhisattva images or related fragments, part of ancient monuments and prehistoric objects, are forbidden to be taken out of the Kingdom. Newly cast Buddha images in complete condition can be exported for worship, cultural exchange or educational purposes with licenses issued by the Fine Arts Department. Not more than 5 pieces per person shall be allowed.

(more information contact to 0 2628 5032)

Reproductions of antiquities can also be exported with licenses.

Procedures to obtain a license for export of antiquities or Buddha images:

3.1 The following documents ahould be produced together with the application form :

(a) two copies (3x5 inches) of front view photograph of the object(s)

(B) a photocopy of the applicant's passport (in case of export of Buddha images the photocopy of passport must be certified as true copy by the related Embassy or Consulate in Thailand.)

3.2 Bring the object(s) and the documents to apply for a license at any of the following places:

(a) Office of Archaeology and National Museums, 81/1 Si Ayutthaya Road, Theves, Dusit, Bangkok, Tel: 0 2628 5032

(B) Chiang Mai National Museum, Superhighway Road, Amphoe Muang, Chiang Mai, Tel : (053) 221-308

© Songkhla National Museum, 13/1 Jana Road, Tambon Bohyang, Amphoe Muang, Songkhla, Tel : (074) 311-728, 311-881

(d) Thalang National Museum, Tambon Si Sunthorn, Amphoe Thalang, Phuket, Tel : (076) 311-426

3.3 Please allow 4 working days for license issuing process.

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I've heard the stories, but never had a problem exporting Buddha images. I've shipped them with furniture, checked them in, and hand carried with never a query.

They've ranged from Ayutthaya and Sukhothai periods (certified), through to modern reproductions. You shouldn't be having a problem, so maybe the shipper tried too hard to do the 'right' thing.

When I exported my first, the advice I was given by the owner of Chongkolnee Antiques, now deceased and business closed, was that checked in or shipped, there would be no questions asked. I've found that also when carried as cabin baggage.

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I have carried many things in my luggage over the years. Only to find out later that what I carried was illegal. Do what you have to, but avoid definite high risk items such as drugs or excess quantities of alcohol. Just nothing that could put you in jail or get executed.

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When I moved to LOS from South Africa, two years ago, I wanted to bring three Balinese statues with me but my shipper said it was too complicated and I risked having my entire shipping container searched or even sent back!

They are still in Johannesburg.....dammit!

Having lived here for a while now, I would tell him to put them in the container and see how it goes. I probably wouldn't have had any problems.

As it was I had to pay 80,000 THB "import tax" for the shipment......down from a scary 200,000 THB! My entree into Thai ways of business.

Anyway, re: exporting, wrap it well and put it in checked luggage. 99% certain to be OK.

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Oh for heaven sake just stick it in your bag & take it-----if we worried about every silly law they have here,

we would have no time to do our knitting .....................coffee1.gif

.

I've just been reading that, by law, you have to turn your headlights on when it's raining in Sweden.
And I'm thinking, "Who the f$$c's going to let me know when it's raining in Sweden?"

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Can be a big problem even if it is just a cement reproduction.

Years ago, a friend bought a beautiful cement statue of a woman in Bali and brought it to Bangkok where he installed it into his garden. Though not a Buddha, it is in the traditional temple statue style.

This year he moved back to the US and consigned the statue along with some other goods to a shipper in Bangkok for shipment back to the US.

The shipper has been trying for six months to get this statue cleared for shipping but so far, the "Antiquities" inspectors at customs say "No", even though it did not originate in Thailand and is a cement reproduction.

Along with the legitimate concern of genuine Thai antiquities being exported, Thais are very concerned about Buddhist images being used inappropriately. I once took a tour of the famous "Jim Thompson House" with a group of Thais. They were disturbed that so many of the Buddhist statues were displayed on low tables and in other inappropriate ways, as decor, not as a symbol of worship,

...Buddha images are never displayed as an ornament in a Thai home.. I've read that Thompson made many enemies because of his treatment of Buddha images as decorations.. I believe it is illegal to export any Buddha image from Thailand.. an antique or not...

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Can be a big problem even if it is just a cement reproduction.

Years ago, a friend bought a beautiful cement statue of a woman in Bali and brought it to Bangkok where he installed it into his garden. Though not a Buddha, it is in the traditional temple statue style.

This year he moved back to the US and consigned the statue along with some other goods to a shipper in Bangkok for shipment back to the US.

The shipper has been trying for six months to get this statue cleared for shipping but so far, the "Antiquities" inspectors at customs say "No", even though it did not originate in Thailand and is a cement reproduction.

Along with the legitimate concern of genuine Thai antiquities being exported, Thais are very concerned about Buddhist images being used inappropriately. I once took a tour of the famous "Jim Thompson House" with a group of Thais. They were disturbed that so many of the Buddhist statues were displayed on low tables and in other inappropriate ways, as decor, not as a symbol of worship,

...Buddha images are never displayed as an ornament in a Thai home.. I've read that Thompson made many enemies because of his treatment of Buddha images as decorations.. I believe it is illegal to export any Buddha image from Thailand.. an antique or not...

As mentioned above, you can take out (non-antique) images with a licence. I have been through the process personally when I shipped a Buddha image back to the UK some years ago (although nothing seems to have changed in terms of the process). Its pretty straightforward in terms of the actual process (you just need a certificate), but they might grill you a bit as to why you want one (I am Buddhist, and showed them a photo of me when I was a monk in Thailand which cut through all the questions). The Post Office I shipped from was pretty surprised that a farang had a certificate, but once I showed it to them, there was no problem at all packing it up and posting off to the UK.

I don't believe that there are issues bringing Buddhas into the country. I suspect that a shipping agent might get nervous because of the restrictions stated above, but as I understand it, these only relate to shipping Buddhas out of the country. Buddhas are regularly brought back from India by Thais so I really don't believe that there would be any problem save for the usual import duty issues. The Balinese images might be a problem as they look antique so might cause more trouble than they are worth unless you get certificates of origin/manufacture or something which might not be readily available unless you did so regularly

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Bought a big gold Buddha in Korat from the mall when they had a craft fare on about 4 years ago, must have been 30cms across and 40cms high, wrapped it up well in bubble wrap & card board carried it on the plane Home, no problem, now I'm moving back to Thailand Buddha has gone to a good home in Scotland.

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in the 80.s you had the you take your Buddha's

to the arts dept, had to have pic's of all

the dept, would put a string the Buddha and seal the string

if the Buddha( was listed as very out) you can't take it out of Thailand,

if it was ok to be taken out of Thailand,they would give you paper work say it was ok

but the paper had to match the number on the seal,also you had to hand carry it

took 4 out that way,but brought them back when we care to live here

now all 4 Buddha's antique's and never taken out of Thailand

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...Buddha images are never displayed as an ornament in a Thai home.. I've read that Thompson made many enemies because of his treatment of Buddha images as decorations.. I believe it is illegal to export any Buddha image from Thailand.. an antique or not...

Wrong, twice. There are many Buddha ornaments, like paintings and low-relief that are placed by many Thais outside of the home shrine, but always in a dignified position.

And as you could have learned just reading the thread, export is legal as long the proper procedure is followed.

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I think it's the ministry of fine arts department where you can get a permit. I did this 30 years ago. Pictures, forms and documents had to be compiled before obtaining permission. In this case, I'm talking about a large human size statue. For small Buddhas that you would wear, I have carried with me on many trips abroad and have never once been questioned.

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