20 May 2016
Our work of the week is the Khmer Buddha, which has just gone on show in Kettle’s Yard at the Hepworth Wakefield. This sculpture dates from the 13-14th century and is from the Khmer Temple Phra Prang Sam Yod, Lopburi in Thailand. The sculpture shows the Buddha seated on Naga King, a multiheaded water snake. The image of the Buddha under the protective hood of the Naga is a common motif in Lopburi art, and depicts the Buddha meditating during the sixth week after achieving enlightenment, when a fierce storm brewed up. The Naga king, Mucilinda, emerged, raised the Buddha up on his coils and opened his hood to shelter Buddha from the torrential rains. For seven days, the storm raged, but Buddha continued his meditation undisturbed under the Naga’s protection.
In A Way of Life Jim Ede said
“as I look at this statue I am very conscious of its blending immobility with activity…surely such a Buddha as this sits beyond time in its pose of calm, and emanates an ever-increasing power. As I put a flower in its hands someone standing near said ‘Buddha is smiling.’”
To read more about this type of statue click here.