Audio Tour Set No. ___ Location at ANM: Gallery E
1. Artifact's name: Prajnaparamita
2. Period: Angkorian period, Late 12th – early 13th century Style: Bayon
3. Provenance: Preah Khan temple, Siem Reap
4. Historical background and its remark
In Mahayana Buddhism, people always believe in Bodhisattvas, the ones who offer support to all living beings. During the reign of King Jayavarman VII (late 12th - early 13th century), the popularly worshipped Bodhisattvas are Lokesvara and Prajnaparamita. They were commonly seen standing by the side of Sakyamuni Buddha or Bhaishajyaraja images as a trinity.
From another point of view, one of the renowned goddesses in Mahayana Buddhism is Tara who became a very popular Vajrayana deity in India during the 8th century. The worship of Tara is also parallel to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Significantly, she is considered the "Mother of all Buddhas", like Prajnaparamita. She always appears with Bodhisattva Lokesvara. Her image is a personification of Knowledge (Prajna or Intellectual) who helps people across the world of misery. Prajnaparamita in Sanskrit terms is rendered to mean "Perfection of Trascendent Wisdom". By the fulfillment of this Paramita (transcendent action), she assists Bodhisattva in achieving goals. Prajnaparamita is recognized by the presence of the Amitabha Buddha in front of her headdress which is illuminated by a lotus bud motif. She is usually depicted in the form of a royal lady holding a lotus and a scripture as her attributes. This charming kneeling female sculpture represents Prajnaparamita worshipped in Cambodia during the Angkorian period. It is believed that this sculpture was made in the great honor of King Jayavarman VII's wife, Jayarajadevi. With reference to the inscription of Ta Prohm, King Jayavarman VII erected Rajavihara (Ta Prohm temple) in 1186 AD in dedication to his mother and in the invocation of Prajnaparamita.