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Angkor Wat period (1100-1175) Standing adorned Buddha 12th century Place made: Cambodia or Thailand
Materials & Technique: sculptures, bronze, precious stones
Dimensions: 57.8 h x 21.0 w x 12.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1998
Accession No: NGA 98.78
Provenance:
  • The supplied chain of ownership for this object is currently being reviewed and further research is underway. The provenance information listed has been substantiated by documentation. Details may be refined and updated as research progresses.
  • with Chin-Tsai Loo (CT Loo), Paris, 1942 or before
  • with Mrs Christian R Holmes (née Bettie Fleischmann), 1942 or before
  • who sold it through Parke Bernet Galleries auction, New York, 16 April 1942
  • with Baron and Baroness Cassel van Doorn, Englewood, New Jersey, after 1942
  • who lent it to the exhibition Buddhist Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, October 1942 (updated 29/2/2016)
  • sold via Christies auction, Amsterdam, 18 November 1996
  • offered for sale via Sotheby's auction, New York, 16 September, 1998
  • when bought by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra,1998 for USD 142,750
  • This sculpture portrays the standing Buddha with hands forming the double gesture of assurance (abhaya mudra). The image is unusually tall and finely finished. Many Southeast Asian images represent the standing Buddha in simple monastic robes. In this Khmer sculpture, however, the Buddha is dressed in royal finery. He wears a conical crown, heavy earrings, jewelled necklace, elaborate armbands and ornamental belt. The borders of his elegant skirt cloth are exquisitely worked, and the stylised drapery of the Buddha’s cloak contributes to the symmetry of the figure. Each hand is decorated with a wheel (chakra). The Buddha appears to be standing perfectly still, with a peaceful, benign expression on his face. Originally, the wide open eyes would have been inlaid with precious stones.

    This sculpture was cast at a time when the influence of the Khmer kingdom, with Angkor as its capital, extended from Cambodia into the central and north-eastern provinces of today’s Thailand, as well as into parts of Laos and Vietnam. The sculpture is in the Angkor Wat style, named for the magnificent Cambodian temple of the same name and period.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
    From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

  • Unusually tall and finely finished, this sculpture portrays the standing Buddha with hands forming the double gesture of assurance (abhaya mudra). Each hand is decorated with a wheel (chakra).Many Southeast Asian images represent the standing Buddha in simple monastic robes. In this Khmer sculpture, however, the Buddha is dressed in royal finery. He wears a conical crown, heavy earrings, jewelled necklace, elaborate armbands and ornamental belt. The borders of his elegant skirt cloth are exquisitely worked, and the stylised drapery of the Buddha’s cloak contributes to the symmetry of the figure. The Buddha appears to be standing perfectly still, with a peaceful, benign expression on his face. Originally, the eyes would have been inlaid with precious stones.

    The sculpture is in the Angkor Wat style, named for the magnificent Cambodian temple of the same name and period. It was cast at a time when the influence of the Khmer kingdom, with Angkor as its capital, extended from Cambodia into the central and north-eastern provinces of today’s Thailand, as well as into parts of Laos and Vietnam.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
    From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014

  • Description

    This is a sculpture depicting a standing Buddha forming the double gesture of assurance (abhaya mudra). The sculpture is from the Angkor Wat period (1100-1175) in Cambodia or Thailand. The work of art is shown as an enlargeable image. Text on screen gives information about the distinctive Khmer style of this sculpture, the context of the Khmer kingdom and a comprehensive visual analysis. The sculpture measures at 57.8 cm high x 21.0 cm wide x 12.0 cm deep and was constructed out of bronze and precious stones.

    Educational value

    • This is an excellent resource for the Responding strand in the visual arts curriculum for students in middle and upper secondary schooling, especially for those content descriptions that refer to considering the broader context of works of art, such as their social, cultural and historical context. It may also be relevant to the Angkor/Khmer Empire depth study in the year 8 history curriculum, particularly for the content description referring to the cultural achievements of the Khmer civilisation.
    • The resource is useful for the Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia cross-curriculum priority, especially for promoting an understanding of the religious diversity within Cambodia and other parts of Asia. In particular, Buddhism and the associated traditions and belief systems could be further examined using this resource. It also identifies Khmer peoples’ contribution to world history and their influence on and interaction with world aesthetics and creative pursuits.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

  • During the 10th–13th centuries, the Angkor kingdom extended across present-day Cambodia and Thailand. The Khmer rulers’ religious preferences initially oscillated between Hinduism and Buddhism but, by the 12th century, Buddhism gained favour and a distinct artistic repertoire developed. This standing Buddha, with hands raised in the double abhaya mudra promising protection, displays the ornate crown and jewellery often associated with this phase of Khmer art. The high-quality casting and inclusion of gems confirms that the sculpture was commissioned by a member of the elite.


    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
    From: Asian gallery extended display label