Cambodia, Bayon Style, late 12th-early 13th century
Overall - h:46.00 w:23.90 cm (h:18 1/16 w:9 3/8 inches)
Gift of Maxeen and John Flower in honor of Dr. Stanislaw Czuma
This tour-de-force of Khmer bronze sculpture depicts the figure most often identified in Southeast Asia with tantric Buddhist practices. Exceedingly rare in that all of the original sixteen hands, eight heads, four legs, and eight dancing yoginis of his mandala survive in excellent condition, this work of art, on view for the first time, is the signature piece from the collection of Maxeen and John Flower. This focus exhibition places Hevajra in the context of tantric Buddhist art, and celebrates the major bequest in 2011 of sixteen masterworks of Indian and Southeast Asian art from the Flower collection. The image of Hevajra functioned in the context of private rituals or personal meditation to indicate the use of the
Hevajra Tantra as the main text to guide the practitioners. Composed in India around the eighth century, the Hevajra Tantra spread to Nepal, Tibet, and Southeast Asia by the 11th century, where Khmer artists fashioned their unique vision of his dancing form. Tantric Buddhism was particularly
prominent in Khmer-controlled territories during the reign of King Jayavarman VII (1125-1218), but disappeared after the 14th century when it was supplanted by another form of early Indian Buddhism.