One Buddha can hide another

Martin Polkinghorne, Christophe Pottier, Christian Fischer

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    In 1933 Georges Trouvé of the École française d'Extrême-Orient excavated an enormous image of the Buddha seated on a nāga inside the central shrine of the Bayon. This image was celebrated as the central image of Jayavarman VII's Angkor Thom and apparently met its demise at the hands of iconoclasts sometime after that great king's rule. Little attention was paid to the head of another Buddha image found with the Bayon Buddha. This small image however, reveals much about Angkor between the 13th and 16th centuries. 1431 / 1432 CE is often cited as the date at which Angkor was abandoned, but our knowledge of this event is based on fragmentary chronicular evidence that has been little understood. The recognition of the small Buddha head as early Ayutthayan and identification of over forty other images of this type are the first material evidence of the 12 to 15 year Ayutthayan occupation at Angkor at this time. Reappraisal of the large Bayon Buddha, a late 12th century image, suggests that it was restored in the 16 th century. A renovation at this time is consistent with similar deeds of piety performed at Angkor Wat and other important Angkorian sites. If the Bayon Buddha was dumped into a looters pit after its 16th century modification we question its part the so-called iconoclasm purported to have occurred in the 13th century.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)575-624
    Number of pages50
    JournalJournal Asiatique
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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