Detail View: The AMICA Library: Vajrasattva

AMICA ID: 
ASIA.1979.067
AMICA Library Year: 
1999
Object Type: 
Sculpture
Creator Nationality: 
Asian; Southeast Asian; Cambodian
Creator Name-CRT: 
Cambodian
Title: 
Vajrasattva
View: 
Full view
Creation Date: 
Angkor period, Angkor Wat style, first half 12th century
Creation Start Date: 
1100
Creation End Date: 
1149
Materials and Techniques: 
Copper alloy
Classification Term: 
Bronzes
Creation Place: 
Cambodia
Dimensions: 
H. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
AMICA Contributor: 
Asia Society
Owner Location: 
New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 
1979.067
Credit Line: 
Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Rights: 
Context: 
The study of Cambodian and Thai sculpture dating from the 10th to 14th centuries is primarily the study of the civilization and culture of the Khmer empire. The Khmers inhabited and controlled parts of mainland Southeast Asia from the 6th century onward. Historically, they are best known for the era called the Angkor period (c. 802-1431), named for the Khmer capital. Angkor remains one of the most remarkable cities in world history and is noted for the vast number of breathtaking monuments constructed there from the 10th to 13th centuries. These structures range from relatively small temples to the gigantic temple mountains of Baphuon and Angkor Wat. Most of the temples are profusely decorated, and Khmer sculpture is generally dated by reference to such monuments, with classifications such as 'Baphuon style.'

This small sculpture, identified as the Buddha Vajrasattva by the bell and thunderbolt (vajra) that he holds, is comparable in style to works found in the temple mountain of Angkor Wat. Sculptures dating to the 12th century typically have more detailed clothing and jewelry, as is seen in the heavy ornaments worn by this figure and the exaggerated treatment of his skirt. Vajrasattva was worshipped both as a buddha and as an attendant figure in Southeast Asian Buddhism. Often worshipped in Esoteric Buddhism, the deity symbolizes the triumph of Buddhist wisdom over human ignorance.

Related Document Description: 
Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 33.
Related Document Description: 
Calza, Gian Carlo. 'Musei: L'Asia in casa.' Antiquariato 34 (January 1983), p. 46.
Related Document Description: 
Le Bonheur, Albert. 'Review of Sherman E. Lee, Ancient Cambodian Sculpture.' Artibus Asiae 33 (1971), p. 240.
Related Document Description: 
Lee, Sherman E. Ancient Cambodian Sculpture. New York: Asia Society, 1969, pp. 69-71, 107.
Related Document Description: 
Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. New York: Asia Society, 1970, pp. 40, 41, 44.
Related Document Description: 
Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 90, 91.
Related Document Description: 
Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 69, 132.
Related Document Description: 
Woodward, Hiram W., Jr. 'Interrelations in a Group of South-East Asian Sculptures.' Apollo (November 1983), p. 383.
Related Document Description: 
Young, Mahonri Sharp. 'Treasures of the Orient: A Rockefeller Collection.' Apollo (November 1970), p. 335.
Related Image Identifier Link: 
ASIA.1979.067.a.tif