Angkor Borei, Cambodia
Stone; H. 24 in. (61 cm)
Gift of Doris Wiener, 2005 (2005.512)
This monumental Buddha head is a superb testament to the earliest phase of Buddhism in the lower Mekong Delta. A few heads like this one are all that survive of the large-scale sacred images that must have existed in the region. They give us an indication of the grandeur and spirituality such sculptures must have achieved, as well as a sense of the importance imparted to Buddhist ideology. Typical of Buddha images from the early site of Angkor Borei are the ovoid face, prominent arching eyebrows, outlined eyes and mouth, mouth with upturned corners, and large, close-cropped, snail-shaped curls. With its impressive scale and superb modeling, this head represents the zenith of that great sculptural tradition.