Stone naga Buddha
12th century, Cambodia
Height: 72 cm, 28.3 inches
A handsome figure of the Buddha is shown seated on the coils of the seven-headed serpent, Mucilinda. The serpent’s hood is fanned out behind him, and above the Buddha to protect him.
Images of Vishnu seated on a naga can be traced back to Gupta India, but the naga in Khmer art developed into a kind of throne for the Buddha, losing some of its snakelike qualities. The iconographic formula became extremely popular during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries in Cambodia and Khmer-occupied territories in Thailand.
“Masterpieces of the National Museum of Cambodia” Friends of Khmer Culture Inc, 2006, fig. 49.