According to the Sukhothai museum, in all the world only the Thais ever made an 'in-the-round' walking
Buddha image. This particular style of image is meant to depict Buddha descending from a higher plane
of existence where he'd visited the next incarnation of his deceased mother. Of course, it's not every
day one sees someone else descend from a higher plane, let alone a Buddha, so the outstretched palm
was intended to calm the awe-struck observers.
The next series takes
you off the Island these images inhabit.