Dec 8, 2009
Dec 8, 2009
Dec 8, 2009

Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva

1100s–1200s

Bronze

Overall: 18.5 cm (7 5/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1947.494

Location

Did you know?

From the back of the crown hang cords, which drape over the shoulders. The same type of cords hang from the back of the belt, coiling over the legs symmetrically on either side.

Description

Vajrasattva is a Buddhist being of enlightenment who holds the vajra, or thunderbolt, in his right hand and a bell in his left. The vajra and bell are the basic implements used in tantric rituals that were popular under Jayavarman VII and practiced at Banteay Chhmar.

Tantra is a form of Buddhism that makes use of rituals and mantras to aid practitioners in reaching their goals quickly, as though with the speed of lightning. Tantric texts and rituals were used frequently in Cambodia, from the 900s onward, but they were especially prominent under Jayavarman VII. This form of Buddhism appears to have been supplanted by other forms after the 1400s.

Small bronze images of Vajrasattva may have been brought out from a temple treasury during the performance of Buddhist rituals that followed the instructions in a Sanskrit text, brought to Cambodia from India, called the Hevajra-tantra. In that text Vajrasattva manifests at key moments in the rituals.

See also
Collection: 
Cambodian Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Bronze

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