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Sculpture from Burma (Myanmar)
Sculpture from Cambodia
Sculpture from Indonesia
Sculpture from Thailand
Ceramics from Thailand
Ceramics from Vietnam
Buddhist Goddess
Indonesia, Sumatra; Shrivijayan style (c. 7th - 14th century), 9th century
Copper alloy
H. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm)
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The identification of this eight-armed goddess remains uncertain because with the exception of the vajra in her upper right hand, the rest of the attributes she once held are missing or damaged. The depiction of this figure's hair as a series of diagonal lines and the corkscrew curls running along the sides of her topknot and falling over her shoulders suggest that the piece may have come from Sumatra. The representation of the diadem as a thin band with triangular shapes and her high and extremely thin waist also point to a Sumatran provenance. The island of Sumatra was the site of the city of Palembang, generally accepted to be the capital of the kingdom of Shrivijaya, one of the greatest powers on Southeast Asia from the 7th through the 9th centuries. Very little is known about the religion of Shrivijaya, but we do know that Sumatra was once a major center for the study of Vajrayana Buddhism, the tradition noted for its worship of female deities.
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