Metal Description

As well as the abundant and universally admired of stone sculptures, the ancient Khmer created Bronze objects, most of them Buddhist and Hindu divinities for the main religions or objects used in daily life. Jean Boisselier noted that, “The oldest records indicate the presence of Buddhism in Funan did not date not earlier than the Vth century.” This provides us with an earliest date in Khmer art history - we do not find bronze Buddhist or Brahmanist divinities that pre-date the Vth century. As it was probably difficult to carve a small figure with multiple arms in stone, the ancient Khmer preferred to cast them in bronze. The study of bronze work is complementary to the study of stone sculptures, as we do not find some statues like the Hevajra (Tantric Buddhist divinity) or Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) carved in stone. The bronze pieces come in different colors dependent on the chemical composition of materials used which include: gold, silver, copper, zinc, mercury, pewter, iron, lead and bismuth. In the pre-Angkorian period, there are some Buddhist statues make from stone and bronze that manifest Indian influences by the sway of the hips and the knees. Georges Groslier once described them as ‘Greco-Gupta’ statues because they possess some characteristics from both Greek and Indian art.

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