Accepted paper:

Snakehood Buddha in the art of Cambodia: transmigration and transformation of the concept


Durga Basu (University of Calcutta)

Paper short abstract:

The study encompasses the concept and manifestation of a new ideology of snake hood Buddha in Combodia art and religion.

Paper long abstract:

The image of Buddha meditating under the protection of Naga is popularly known as Muchalinda Buddha. The image primarily shows the manifestation of the story connected with the event immediately following the attainment of enlightenment of Buddha. The concept and representations of Muchalinda Buddha were developed in the early medieval India and later on it had spread over a vast region of South-east Asia, especially in the region of Cambodia. Cambodia has produced a large number of sculptures of snakehood Buddha. In the beginnings of the classic period of Khmer art the prolific artistic activities overshadowed the entire region which had witnessed the growth of such images with new ideology. The concept of Muchalinda Buddha perhaps transmigrated to this region and this form of Buddha was widely worshipped in this region. The main Buddha image of Bayon is a 3.6metres high snakehood Buddha, seated on the throne of snake coil. The concept of this form of Buddha , in due course was changed. The transforming concept reflects the transcendental aspect of Buddhahood through the manifestation of snakehood Buddha. The paper aims to highlight the stylistic approaches of these images along with the transformation of new concept.

panel P17
Visuality, connectivity and sustainability of cultural heritage of Cambodia