Articles – South East Asian Buddhist Iconography
A collection of interesting articles on Thai and Khmer Buddhist Iconography
THAILAND & KHMER
The Indianized States of Southeast Asia – Written by G. Coedes and translated by Susan Brown Cowing.
Excerpt: It would be difficult to overestimate the contribution of George Coedes to the field of Southeast Asian studies. He is revered by other scholars in the field as the unchallenged dean of Southeast Asian classical scholarship. Since 1904 a truly prodigious and uninterrupted flow of articles, books, and papers on various aspects of early Southeast Asian history has issued from his pen: he has discovered and translated primary materials (inscriptions and annals in Pali, Sanskrit, Cambodian, Thai); he has interpreted the meaning of these materials in approximately two hundred scholarly articles; and he has synthesized his own work and that of his colleagues by writing integrated, readable accounts for specialists and the general public.
Any one of his many epochal discoveries would be regarded as the proudest achievement of many a scholar.Coedes’ primary interest has been in the history of the Khmer Empire. His contribution here has been to supply a reliable historical chronology and an incisive delineation of the nature of Khmer kingship and other traditional Khmer institutions. What we know of ancient Cambodia stems predominantly from the work of Coedes. In other areas of Southeast Asia, Coedes is most famous for his pioneer depiction of the origin of Sukhothai, the first historical kingdom of Thailand, and his dramatic identification, in 1918, of the name, geographical scope, and importance of the ancient Indonesian empire of Srivijaya. His discovery of Srivijaya has been called, by Paul Wheatley, “possibly the most significant contribution ever made to the progress of Southeast Asian history.”
Buddhist Sculptures of Indonesia
Violence and Serenity – Late Buddhist Sculpture from Indonesia – Written by Natasha Reichle.
Introduction – Excerpt – At the heart of the Museum Nasional in Jakarta lies a remarkable collection of ancient sculpture. One after another, dozens of Hindu and Buddhist statues line the walls of the courtyard at the core of the building, giving the visitor a glimpse of the long artistic history of the region.
Although many of the images are spectacular, when I first visited the museum, I found myself drawn again and again to the same two: an exquisite seated image of Prajñaparamita, the goddess of transcendental wisdom, and a colossal standing demonic figure known as a bhairava. The bhairava sculpture is impossible to miss and difficult to forget (fig. i.1).
It stands at the back of the first gallery of ancient sculpture, looking out at the museum’s courtyard. At almost four and a half meters high, it towers over the rest of the museum’s collection. Standing on a base of oversized human skulls, the bhairava holds a dagger and skull cup against his hairy chest. A small Aksobhya Buddha depicted in his headdress is the only clue to the image’s Buddhist nature. The statue is described as a portrait of the fourteenth- century Sumatran king Adityawarman