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Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, 1150-1175

Asia: Cambodia; Asia: Thailand, 1150-1175
40 in. (101.6 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

This sculpture represents the Buddhist deity Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara who is identified by the small figure of Buddha Amitabha seated in his chignon. Avalokiteshvara is associated with the Mahayana branch of Buddhism, which is evidenced in Khmer epigraphy and art by the 7th and 8th centuries.

The style in which this figure is executed is quite different and allows us to date it. The figure is rigid in posture, typical of Angkor Wat style statuary of the 12th century, which emulated the hieratic forms of previous 10th century styles. However, we know this figure was produced in the 12th century as its jeweled belt is highly detailed as is its diadem. Also a hallmark of the 12th century Angkor Wat style is the treatment of the double anchor front panel, which has soft, curved edges rather than dynamic, sharp edges of earlier Kor Ker (middle 10th) and Pre Rup (late 10th) examples.

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