Buddha of Healing (Bhaisajyaguru)
Date: 12th Century CE (Angkor Wat style)
Measurements: 9 3/4 x 7 3/8 x 3 3/4 inches
Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Bronze casting became widely practiced in Cambodia during the Angkorean period, which extended from the 9th century to the 13th century. This figure of Bhaisajyaguru, the buddha of healing, was created during the reign of the Hindu emperor Jayavarman VII, who ruled Cambodia from 1181 to 1219. Bhaisajyaguru is identifiable by the medicine jar in his hand.
In Cambodia, buddhas and bodhisattvas were usually depicted richly dressed. This representation of Bhaisajyaguru wears elaborately crafted armbands and necklaces. Long delicately wrought earrings hang from his pronounced earlobes, and his arms and legs are decorated with bracelets and anklets. The style of his pointed crown began to appear frequently in Cambodian Buddhist sculpture during the 12th century.
The figure sits in a meditative position with one leg resting upon the other. Unique to Cambodian Buddhist sculpture, this pose differs from Indian Buddhist sculpture, in which a figure’s legs are usually crossed at the ankles. The figure of Bhaisajyaguru is finished on all sides, suggesting it was intended to serve as a chala chitra, a portable object used for worship.