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Exporting Buddha Images and Statues from Thailand

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Bringing Back Buddha images and Statues from Thailand 

It is worth noting if you visit Thailand as a tourist and find yourself admiring the many beautiful and inspiring Buddha images for sale you should exercise caution when trying to bring them out of the country as Thai law prohibits the export of Buddha images that are bigger than 5" without first obtaining an export permit

There are two categories of laws covering this area.The first applies to replica Buddha images which covers the vast majority of "souvenirs' for sale that you will find at shops and markets right throughout Thailand.Ignorance of the law I'm afraid will not help if your purchase is intercepted at the airport as you leave the country. 

Of course in this age of X-Rays and increased security bags and luggage are subject to greater scrutiny than ever before. There are many tales on travel sites and books about mishaps that have occurred when cherished reminders of a happy holiday are seizes and confiscated by Thai custom officials. 

The second and most important category is that of genuine antique religious Buddha icons,statues and images. It should not be forgotten that Buddhism has long been the state religion of the Thai people and images,monks and temples are revered and held in the highest respect. Buddha images are objects of worship and devotion and Thais quite rightly take offence when these images are sold (or even worse stolen from temples) and lost to their country and end up in western countries. They take particular offence when they become merely decorative objects - funking up a bar or pub. 

The rules are enforced by the Thai Fine Arts Department and written permission must be obtained from the Department in advance of taking them out.There is a maximum of 5 Buddha images allowed per trip per person. There is a total  prohibition of exporting from the country applying to parts of the Buddha images such as head ,hands or feet.

There are no restrictions for full Buddha images,statues or amulets that are smaller then 5" (12 cm) and they can be made of any substance such as  gold,silver,bronze,marble or wood. 

How to Obtain a Buddha Statue of Image Export Permit

Often the shop from where you bought the Buddha statue or image will help you obtain the correct permit and they will then apply to the Thai Fine Arts Department on your behalf. Bear in mind you will need a separate permit for every image and that Fine Art officials will need to inspect each one before they can issue the permit. Finally the permit must be countersigned by the Provincial Governor and this can take up to 5 days to complete. Two front views of the Buddha image or statue needs to accompany each application for a permit . 

Fine Arts Department Inspection

The easiest solution is for the shop owner to make arrangements for officials of the Thai  Fine Arts department to visit the shop in person and inspect the Buddha images that are offered for sale. 

If this approach is taken you will find the tags attached to the Buddha image and the shop will provide all the necessary documentation.

We at the Buddha's Face take great care not only over selecting and carving these wonderfully timeless and authentic Buddha images but take meticulous care that we obtain them in the proper and appropriate fashion. 

So the easiest way if after returning from your holiday in Thailand would be to visit and choose from our large range of Buddha images,statues and wall art.The perfect companion for your house and garden.
The  best place to buy wholesale and retail Buddha statues,sculptures and wall panel decor for both the home and garden
Bespoke design available,  from small buddha statues to large buddha wall art in colours from natural wood to gold ,all carved by our Buddhist artists and 100% fairtrade.