This work is a three-dimensional mandala, or cosmic diagram, of Hevajra, who is the chief deity of the Tantric (Vajrayana) Buddhist path to enlightenment. Unlike Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, the Tantric school believed that, with serious application and the guidance of a religious teacher, an initiate could achieve enlightenment in this life. The main exercise was meditation. While meditating, the practitioner focused all his mental energy on a deity, in this case Hevajra, thereby transferring to himself the characteristics of the deity. The cult of Hevajra flourished in Cambodia between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. Here Hevajra stands in the centre on an eight-petalled lotus surrounded by dakhinis, minor female divinities in Tantric Buddhism, and one unidentified other figure.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, May 2011
Place where the work was made
late 12th century
39.0 x 23.5 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Goldie Sternberg Southeast Asian Art Purchase Fund 2001
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
The connoisseur and the philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection of Chinese Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014–27 Apr 2014
Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–28 Feb 2016
Referenced in 14 publications
Kelly Burke, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Nolan, Bonnard, and a kid in a lolly shop', pg. 7, Sydney, 12 Apr 2001, 7 (illus.).
Edmund Capon, Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 186 (colour illus.), 187 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 187 is a detail of this work.
Edmund Capon, TAASA Review, 'Spirit Resonance. In Memoriam Goldie Sternberg', pg. 18-19, Sydney, Jun 2003, 18, 19 (colour illus.).
Edmund Capon, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'Goldie Sternberg 1921-2003', pg. 23, Sydney, May 2003, 23 (colour illus.).
Joanna Capon, Art and Australia (Vol. 41, No. 4), 'Goldie Sternberg: Benefactor', pg. 618-620, Sydney, Jun 2004-Aug 2004, 620.
Matt Cox, The Connoisseur and the Philanthropist: 30 years of the Sternberg Collection, "Southeast Asian Art.", pg. 25-29, Sydney, 31 Jan 2014, 29 (colour illus.).
Bruce James, The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Pick of the crop for wily Capon: Gallery acquisitions analysis', pg. 16, Sydney, 12 Apr 2001, 16.
Wibke Lobo., Sculpture of Angkor and ancient Cambodia: millennium of glory, 'The Figure of Hevajra and Tantric Buddhism', Washington D.C., 1997.
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 312-313 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 313 is a detail of this work.
Jackie Menzies, Arts of Asia, 'New Dimensions', pg. 54-63, Hong Kong, Nov 2003-Dec 2003, 62 (colour illus.). no.18
Pratapaditya Pal, Oriental art [vol 40, no 4], 'Heruka/Hevajra in Khmer Art: a preliminary study', pg. 13-40, Surrey, 1996, 13-20. General reference
Jennifer Sexton, The Australian, 'A bronze to crown Asian art collection', pg. 8, Sydney, 12 Apr 2001, 8 (illus.).
Haema Sivanesan, TAASA Review, "In the Public Domain: A Bronze Hevajra Mandala from Cambodia", Sydney, Sep 2001, 14 (colour illus.).
Judith White (Editor), Look, 'New Asian acquisition', pg. 11, Melbourne, Jul 2001, 11 (colour illus.).