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Khmer Bronze Sculpture of the Buddha - PF.6209
Origin: Cambodia
Circa: 1200 AD to 1300 AD
Dimensions: 10" (25.4cm) high
Collection: Asian
Style: Bayon
Medium: Bronze

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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 Yunan, 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 lifelike, 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 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. Here, the Sakyamuni stands, forming the double Abhaya Mudra, also known as the Gesture of Fearlessness. This hand gesture symbolizes protection, benevolence, and peace. He wears a skirt and a cape that falls into fish-tale edges. Heavy ornaments weight down his ears, indicative of his aristocratic past. The large conical bump on top of his head, known as an ushnisa, symbolizes his overwhelming wisdom. 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. - (PF.6209)

 

 

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