The Buddhist goddess of transcendental
wisdom is distinguished by the blue lotus and the manuscript which she
carries in her hands. Prajnaparamita is one of the most important female
Bodhisattvas in Mahayana Buddhism, the actual creators of the universe.
After reaching the state of enlightenment, she dedicated herself to
guiding all beings to the true path of Buddha, leading to Nirvana. Being
the personification of wisdom, Prajnaparamita is regarded as the mystic
mother of all Buddhas.
Depicted in a standing posture on a rectangular base, Prajnaparamita
holds the pustaka, the book which symbolises wisdom, in her left hand.
Her right hand holds the Utpala, the blue lotus which symbolises purity
and spiritual elevation. The goddess wears a diadem, the principal band
of which is decorated with a row of stylised lotus patterns. The conical
shaped headdress bears an image of the historical Buddha Gautama Sakyamuni
in a seated posture. She is adorned with a crown, earrings, a necklace,
bracelets and a fine skirt which is folded over a belt hung with pendants,
and which has vertical engraved lines.
This fine bronze image is a classic example of Khmer art created during
the Angkor Vat period. In the 12th century the worship of the mahayana
trinity, comprising Buddha Sakyamuni, Avalokitesvara and Prajnaparamita,
became a national cult and was the paradigm and heart of the religious
system in Cambodia during the first 20 years of Jayavarman VII reign
(1181-1201 A.D.). The temple complex of Ta Prohm was dedicated in 1186
A.D. to Prajnaparamita in honour of Jayavarman's mother. Typical characteristics
of the Angkor Vat style are the connecting eyebrows in a straight line,
the wide open eyes, the thick lower lip tapered at the sides, the typical
construction of the fine folded sarong (skirt) and the shape of the
jewellery and ornaments.
Reflecting the Angkor Vat style, this fine bronze can be considered
a masterpiece of Khmer art. With careful and subtle modelling, this
graceful image is depicted with lively imagination. Set in a frontal
and convincing upright posture, her hands take a beautiful position,
raised slightly differently and turning away from each other, enhancing
the elegance of this Buddhist goddess of wisdom.
Formerly in the collection of Mr. H. Loschengruber, Germany.
Formerly in the collection of Mr. A. Kiepe, Germany.