Buddha Protected by a Seven-headed Naga
late 12th–early 13th century
H. 35 in. (88.9 cm); W. 22 in. (55.9 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1936
This fragmentary sculpture, reportedly found south of the temple of Chausay Tevoda outside Angkor Thom, is in the late twelfth-century style of the Bayon. It originally portrayed Siddhartha before his enlightenment, meditating while seated on the coils of a giant naga (serpent). According to legend, a huge cobra shielded the future Buddha from a storm sent to distract him from his meditation and thereby prevent his ultimate salvation.
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