Head of Buddha

Circa 13th century, Bayon style
H. 34cm or 13 ⅜ in



Incredible and very charismatic Khmer Buddha that measures 34 cm (or 13 ⅜ in) in height and is typical of the Bayon style in the 13th century in Cambodia. The patina and orange color of this sandstone gives it its unique character.

Khmer Buddhist pieces are rare, and we enjoy the calm of the sculpted faces. With his closed eyes, Buddha is lost in deep meditation and inner contemplation. However, an undeniable intensity emerges from this powerful and expressive face, marked by the asperities of the stone. The angular character found on some of the Bayon’s sculptures and the wide forehead confirm the great presence of this piece.

However, the modelling is subtle, specific to the physical ideal of the Bayon style that flourished under the reign of one of Cambodia’s greatest and most famous Buddhist rulers: Jayavarman VII (r. 1182/1183-circa 1218). This aesthetic is characterized by full lips sketching a very light and peaceful smile, and a particularly serene, moving expression, which reflects an intimate communion. The uṣṇīṣa, i. e. the cranial protuberance of the Buddha, is hidden here in a conical bun that can be found on several examples of the period and which is accentuated here. The rest of the hairstyle is made of finely braided hair strands. The soothing and noble character of this Buddha head makes it a very unique piece.


Provenance: Private collection, France, since the 1970s.