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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Cambodia : Khmer Bronze Figure of the Buddha
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Khmer Bronze Figure of the Buddha - CB.3092
Origin: Cambodia
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 14 th Century AD
Dimensions: 5.5" (14.0cm) high x 3.5" (8.9cm) wide x 2" (5.1cm) depth
Collection: Asian Art
Style: Bayon


Additional Information: Hong Kong

Location: UAE
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Description
The Khmer civilization, today embodied by the temples and ruins of Angkor, one of mankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements, flourished from 802-1431 A.D. From the great citadel of Angkor, the kings of the Khmer empire ruled over a vast domain that reached from what is now southern Vietnam to Yunnan, China and from Vietnam westward to the Bay of Bengal. The original city was built around the Phnom Bakeng, a temple on a hill symbolizing the mountain that stands in the center of the world according to Hindu cosmology. Successive kings enlarged the city, building other temples devoted to various Hindu deities and large reservoirs used for irrigation, which also symbolized the ocean surrounding the holy central mountain.

The Bayon style of Khmer art flourished under the rule of a wise and powerful monarch, Jayavarman VII. The sculpture became more life-like, reflecting more of a human ideal of beauty than the monumental art of the previous Brahmanic periods. Bayon works combined a tempered realism with an intense expressiveness. The famous “Angkor smile,” as epitomized by the sweet visage of this bronze Buddha, dates to this period. The Bayon period was characterized by its allegiance to the Sakyamuni, a temporary religious trend that would only last until the resurgence of Brahmanic sects shortly after the passing of Jayavarman VII.

The historical figure, Buddha Gautama Sakyamuni is the Buddha of compassion who, having achieved the highest evolutionary perfection, turns suffering into happiness for all living beings. Born around 560 B.C. somewhere between the hills of south Nepal and the Rapti River, his father was a Raja who ruled over the northeastern province of India, the district including the holy Ganges River. The young prince was married to Yashoda when he was about 17 years old and together they had a son named Rahula. At the age of 29, he left his life of luxury, as he felt compelled to purify his body and make it an instrument of the mind by ridding himself of earthly impulses and temptations.

Here, the Buddha rests upon a stylized pedestal, posing in the Dhyana mudra, or “gesture of meditation.” This mudra portrays the Buddha in deep meditation; it is a gesture of contemplating universal truths. The large conical bump on top of his head, known as an ushnisa, symbolizes his overwhelming wisdom. His earlobes droop downwards, having been pulled by the heavy earrings he wore in his youth, reflecting his wealthy origins. However, he left this life of luxury behind and is shown here wearing only simple monastic robes. More than a gorgeous work of art, this sculpture is a memorial to perhaps the most flourishing creative period in the great history of Angkor. - (CB.3092)

 

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