Audio Tour Set No. 15 Location at ANM: Gallery A

1. Artifact's name: Standing Vishnu

2. Period: Pre-Angkor Period, 7th century Style: Sambor Prei Kuk

3. Provenance: Kampong Speu Province

4. Historical background and its remark
Hinduism gathers an extraordinary rich pantheon around a divine trinity, made up of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Theoretically, Vishnu is the protector and savior of the world, physically depicted through the works of art. Vishnu has only one head, and most often four arms, except for a few standing statues with eight arms, for instance, the standing sandstone Vishnu (in the Bayon style) at Angkor Wat temple and the Pre-Angkorian period (6th century), made of schist, presently displayed in the National Museum in Phnom Penh.

This statue of Vishnu appears with four arms, holding the Chakra (a disc-like weapon), the conch shell, the mace and the ball. These attributes represent the fundamental elements of the cosmos: earth, wind, water and fire. This magnificent statue was sculpted with a heavy appearance, a frontal viewpoint, a hierarchical stance and with impressive elaboration on his cylindrical miter. The face is smiling and gentle. The modeling of the torso is executed with a natural depiction of the male anatomy. Remarkably, at the center of his Sampot (wrapped garment), a long dropping edge from the knot of his upper Sampot to his ankles form an extra supporter which was already applied at the back of his head, beneath the ball and the mace. This support technique was created in order to keep balance and strengthen the structure of the sculpture.

Audio Tour Set No. 8 Location at ANM: Exclusive Gallery: 1000 Buddha

1. Artifact's name: Buddha sheltered by Naga

2. Period: Late 12th –early 13th century Style: Bayon

3. Provenance: ____________________________

4. Historical background and its remark
In the course of the seven weeks that followed the attainment of full enlightenment, a torrential rainstorm was unleashed for an entire week. Muchalinda, king of the serpents, emerged and protected the master's meditation with his body's coil and his outspread hood. This statue called a “Meditating Buddha Sheltered by Naga” (named Muchalinda) is associated with this event and is dear to Khmer arts (Angkorian period) popularly found in Baphoun, Angkor Wat and Bayon styles (from 11th - early 13th century).

Significantly on this impressive image, both hands form the Dhyana Mudra (meditation gesture), palms facing upward with the right hand over the left. Additionally, the headdress is completely changed and developed from the past, as we observed in the pre-Angkorian era, where the headdress was made up of the traditional spiral curves, but the hair here was gathered in neatly braided tresses and conical Ushnisha, a cranial protuberance.

However, this statue is unadorned, except for the headdress and conical Ushnisha decorated in a lotus bud shape. The bust that appears here is difficult to imagine the garment covering the torso, but there are some traces remaining on the body. The sculptor seems to indicate the garment is clinging to the body. This statue is well proportioned and has beautifully carved detailed Naga scales upon his three coils and seven heads.

Audio Tour Set No. ___ Location at ANM: Gallery B

1. Artifact's name: Ganesha

2. Period: Angkorian period, late 12th century - early 13th century Style: Bayon

3. Provenance: Preah Khan Temple , Siem Reap Province

4. Historical background and its remark
This striking sculpture is depicted as a seated human form with an elephant head, representing Ganesha or Ganesh and also known as Ganapati, son of Shiva and Parvati, his consort known as Buddhi (wisdom), Ridhi (prosperity) and Sidhi (attainment). According to Shiva Purana, he has two sons, Ksema (prosperity) or Subha (auspiciousness) and Labha (profit). Actually, Ganesha is one of the deities best-known and most widely worshipped in the Hindu pantheon in India dating back to the Vedic times and is a clearly recognized form in the Gupta period since the 4th - 5th century.

Audio Tour Set No. 27 Location at ANM: Gallery D

1. Artifact's name: Lokesvara

2. Period: Angkorian period, 12th century Style: Angkor Wat

3. Provenance: Beng Mealea temple; Siem Reap Province

4. Historical background and its remark
In Khmer Buddhist arts, Boddhisattva Lodesvara is commonly depicted in a single standing or sitting posture or in a triad form with the Buddha and Prajnaparamita. From rare evidence n the inscription at Bat Chum Temple (953 AD), some names of Mahayanist deities in the Tantric cult (Buddha Trailokyavijaya, Vajrapani and Prajnaparimita) are mentioned. Vitorio Reveda also interpreted some text in the stele of Srei Santhor (K.111, 975-980 AD) that the Bodhisattva associated with Prajnaparimita is probably Lokesvara. Significantly, the iconography of Lokesvara is seen in both the Pre-Angkorian period (7th century) and the Angkorian period (11th to early 13th century, Baphoun, Angkor Wat and Bayon style). Especially, at the end of the 12th century, Lokesvara is revered as the main element of Mahayana Buddhism.

This elegantly seated statue with four arms is regarded as Boddhisattva Lokesvara, found in the collapsed tower of Beng Mealea temple (built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century), which can be identified by a seated image of Amitabha Buddha in the front of his chignon-cover, surmounted by a diadem and conical tiers of lotus buds. Technically, this statue is sculpted in Hindu form: seated in Rishi yoga or hermit meditating pose (high raising up of his crossed legs), gentle mood and smiling face with the third eye on his forehead like the God Shiva, the marked hair style at his temple-rim to a fancy point shape like in Baphoun style, slightly straight eyebrow ridge, wavy moustache and beard, short earlobes, ornamented chest and arms. His torso is energetic and shown as royal hierarchy with a large folded hem of his cloth fallen to his lap. Noticeably, these characteristics are different from the Buddha's. The quality of carving and its aesthetics applied on this statue demonstrates the development of arts from the 10th to the 12th century of Angkor Wat style and is clear evidence of the evolution from Hindu to Buddhist iconography or syncretism between Shivaism and Mahayana buddhism. (L.P.Briggs:1951:194).

Audio Tour Set No. 33 Location at ANM: Gallery E

1. Artifact's name: Prajnaparamita

2. Period: Angkorian period, Late 12th – early 13th century Style: Bayon

3. Provenance: Preah Khan temple, Siem Reap

4. Historical background and its remark
In Mahayana Buddhism, people always believe in Bodhisattvas, the ones who offer support to all living beings. During the reign of King Jayavarman VII (late 12th - early 13th century), the popularly worshipped Bodhisattvas are Lokesvara and Prajnaparamita. They were commonly seen standing by the side of Sakyamuni Buddha or Bhaishajyaraja images as a trinity.

From another point of view, one of the renowned goddesses in Mahayana Buddhism is Tara who became a very popular Vajrayana deity in India during the 8th century. The worship of Tara is also parallel to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Significantly, she is considered the "Mother of all Buddhas", like Prajnaparamita. She always appears with Bodhisattva Lokesvara. Her image is a personification of Knowledge (Prajna or Intellectual) who helps people across the world of misery. Prajnaparamita in Sanskrit terms is rendered to mean "Perfection of Trascendent Wisdom". By the fulfillment of this Paramita (transcendent action), she assists Bodhisattva in achieving goals. Prajnaparamita is recognized by the presence of the Amitabha Buddha in front of her headdress which is illuminated by a lotus bud motif. She is usually depicted in the form of a royal lady holding a lotus and a scripture as her attributes. This charming kneeling female sculpture represents Prajnaparamita worshipped in Cambodia during the Angkorian period. It is believed that this sculpture was made in the great honor of King Jayavarman VII's wife, Jayarajadevi. With reference to the inscription of Ta Prohm, King Jayavarman VII erected Rajavihara (Ta Prohm temple) in 1186 AD in dedication to his mother and in the invocation of Prajnaparamita.