Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB


The exquisite balance between fine details and a simple, sensuous silhouette makes this bronze sculpture visually appealing, but its symbolic content makes it meaningful. The figure, identified by the seated Buddha perched above its multiple heads, represents the bodhisattva (enlightened being) Prajnaparamita, who embodies the Buddhist concepts of wisdom (prajna) and perfection (paramita). In Buddhism, wisdom is considered an intuitive comprehension of the true nature of reality. Perfection—or, in a literal translation of the Sanskrit, “that which has reached the other shore”—expresses the state of enlightenment achieved by a bodhisattva.

Cambodian, Khmer Culture
13th century
13 3/8 x 6 3/4 in. (33.9 x 17.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 76.16