We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 In line with NSW Health advice, the Art Gallery is temporarily closed to the public. Stay updated on our social media.

Title

Head of Avalokiteshvara

early 13th century

Artists

Unknown Artist

Alternate image of Head of Avalokiteshvara by
Alternate image of Head of Avalokiteshvara by
  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Cambodia
    Cultural origin
    Khmer, Bayon style
    Date
    early 13th century
    Media category
    Sculpture
    Materials used
    sandstone
    Dimensions
    39.5 cm including stand
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Gift of James De Siun in honour of his mother, Patricia Laffan De Siun 2005
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    160.2005
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

    Share
  • About

    During the reign of Jayavaram VII (1181-?1218), Mahayana Buddhism became the dominant belief in the Khmer kingdom after a period of Hinduism as the state religion. Much of the art during his reign was named after the important Bayon temple. Avalokiteshvara (the bodhisattva of compassion), was one of the most important gods during this Bayon period, evidence being that images were frequently found at Angkor Thom, Banteay Chmar and Nak Pan. It was also during this time that many of the sculptures of the gods, Buddha and bodhisattvas adopted human characteristics with similarities to the image of the king himself or even his first wife, Jayarajadevi (a devout Buddhist) being depicted as Tara. Thus this sculpture is observed to have a likeness similar to portraits of King Jayavaram VII. This sculpture can generally be recognised as Avalokiteshvara by the specific identifying attribute of the figure of the Amitabha Buddha in the headdress. Further, the serenity of the face is seen to have the spiritual qualities associated with the deeply religious character of the king.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2005.

  • Places

    Where the work was made

    Cambodia

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition