, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara [Lokeshvara] Enlarge 1 /1
Angkor Wat period (1100-1175) Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara [Lokeshvara] 1150-1175 Place made: Cambodia
Creation Notes: Late Angkor Wat period (1100-1175)
Materials & Technique: sculptures, basalt stone
Dimensions: 102.0 h x 46.0 w x 18.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1970
Accession No: NGA 70.26
  • 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 David Jones Art Gallery, Sydney, 1970 or before
  • which sold it to the Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1970 for AUD 31,500

Known in Cambodia as Lokeshvara, the compassionate bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara is often represented in Khmer art. Recognisable by the small image of the Amitabha Buddha in his headdress, depictions of Lokeshvara were especially popular during the reign of King Jayavarman VII, a devout Buddhist. The rectangular object held in the sculpture’s remaining hand is a palm-leaf manuscript of a sacred text, most likely the Prajnaparamita (The Perfection of Wisdom). It is likely that Lokeshvara’s missing hands held a lotus, a flask containing the nectar of immortality, and a string of prayer beads.

The style of the sculpture’s headdress and skirt cloth (sampot) suggest that it was made in the late Angkor Wat period, shortly before the establishment of the overtly Buddhist Bayon period (1177–1230).

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