Audio Tour Set No. 712 Location at ANM: Gallery D
1. Artifact's name: Lokesvara
2. Period: Angkorian period, 12th century Style: Angkor Wat
3. Provenance: Beng Mealea temple; Siem Reap Province
4. Historical background and its remark
In Khmer Buddhist arts, Boddhisattva Lodesvara is commonly depicted in a single standing or sitting posture or in a triad form with the Buddha and Prajnaparamita. From rare evidence n the inscription at Bat Chum Temple (953 AD), some names of Mahayanist deities in the Tantric cult (Buddha Trailokyavijaya, Vajrapani and Prajnaparimita) are mentioned. Vitorio Reveda also interpreted some text in the stele of Srei Santhor (K.111, 975-980 AD) that the Bodhisattva associated with Prajnaparimita is probably Lokesvara. Significantly, the iconography of Lokesvara is seen in both the Pre-Angkorian period (7th century) and the Angkorian period (11th to early 13th century, Baphoun, Angkor Wat and Bayon style). Especially, at the end of the 12th century, Lokesvara is revered as the main element of Mahayana Buddhism.
This elegantly seated statue with four arms is regarded as Boddhisattva Lokesvara, found in the collapsed tower of Beng Mealea temple (built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century), which can be identified by a seated image of Amitabha Buddha in the front of his chignon-cover, surmounted by a diadem and conical tiers of lotus buds. Technically, this statue is sculpted in Hindu form: seated in Rishi yoga or hermit meditating pose (high raising up of his crossed legs), gentle mood and smiling face with the third eye on his forehead like the God Shiva, the marked hair style at his temple-rim to a fancy point shape like in Baphoun style, slightly straight eyebrow ridge, wavy moustache and beard, short earlobes, ornamented chest and arms. His torso is energetic and shown as royal hierarchy with a large folded hem of his cloth fallen to his lap. Noticeably, these characteristics are different from the Buddha's. The quality of carving and its aesthetics applied on this statue demonstrates the development of arts from the 10th to the 12th century of Angkor Wat style and is clear evidence of the evolution from Hindu to Buddhist iconography or syncretism between Shivaism and Mahayana buddhism. (L.P.Briggs:1951:194).