An antique Khmer stone sculpture of Mahā Paramasangata Pada (Jayavarman VII), added to our family collection in 1930 from a private Japanese collection. It was made in mid 19th century.
Lacking any royal or divine attributes, this King Jayavarman VII statue represents Buddha as
a simple, spiritual man.
His facial expression is accentuated by semi-closed eyes, a slight smile, large forehead, lips that are neither thin nor thick, and long ear lobes. All of these traits represent the Khmer physiognomy. The king's power as expressed by his facial expression evokes supreme knowledge, compassion and peacefulness.
Jayavarman VII, posthumous name of Mahā Paramasangata Pada or Mahaparamasaugata (Khmer: ជ័យវរ្ម័នទី៧, c. 1122–1218), was king of the Khmer Empire. He was the son of King Dharanindravarman II (r. 1150–1160) and Queen Sri Jayarajacudamani.
He was the first king devoted to Buddhism, as only one prior Khmer king was a Buddhist. He then built the Bayon as a monument to Buddhism. Jayavarman VII is generally considered the most powerful of the Khmer monarchs by historians. His government built many projects including hospitals, highways, rest houses and temples. With Buddhism as his motivation, King Jayavarman VII is credited with introducing a welfare state that served the physical and spiritual needs of the Khmer people.
King Jayavarman VII was responsible for the construction of numerous temples in the Angkor region and in other provinces. King Jayavarman VII was further championed as the greatest king of Angkor for liberating and unifying the country. His legacy lives on today as many of the structures remaining today within Angkor Wat were built during his reign. At the center of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple, famous for its distinct 50 towers, each bearing the large faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshavara on all four sides. These faces are thought to be copied from the actual face of King Jayavarman VII, whose smiles are so gentle that it is often referred to as the Khmer smile.
This great king was a devout Buddhist of the Mahayana sect. The carving of this piece is beautiful as you can see in the fine details of his serene face.
Each detail is rendered perfectly. The distinctive patina of the piece is also particularly delightful.
During the centuries many tribute reproduction statues have been made. This is surely one of the most beautiful.
Size: 41 cm height