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Prajnaparamita, c. 1225

Asia: Cambodia, 1200-1250
15-1/4 in. (38.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on View

Unlike the two stone sculptures on display, this bronze female figure of the Buddhist deity Prajnaparamita is fully intact, since its material is more resistant to breakage than sandstone. The figure can be identified by the attributes she holds in her hands, which include the lotus flower in the left hand and the book in the right hand.

Prajnaparamita is the bodhisattva of wisdom and the spiritual mother of all Buddhas. The book is a symbol of her wisdom, and the lotus is a mark of her purity. Images of Prajnaparamita became increasingly popular during the 13th century in Angkor. Much of this had to do with the adoption of Buddhism as the official state religion by King Jayavarman VII (r. 1181–1215) and the association he made between Prajnaparamita and his own mother, Queen Sri Jayarajacudamani. Beyond the popularity of Prajnaparamita images during the 13th century, other features date the figure to this time period; specifically, the skirt is neither long nor pleated. Instead, it is a short skirt made of a patterned textile, which had become fashionable during the 13th century.

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