Head of Buddha

Angkor period, Bayon style, 12th-13th century
H. 13 in. (33.0 cm); 1979.71

Artist Comments

David Henry Hwang
The three heads of Buddha evoke another issue which interests me: how images are appropriated by different peoples in order to reflect themselves and differing standards of beauty. Note the almost Greek or Roman features of the Pakistani Buddha, as opposed to the more Asian characteristics of those from Cambodia and Indonesia. Which is the more "authentic" depiction of the great thinker? Clearly, different peoples and generations have always reinterpreted images and stories to suit their own needs.

Ong Keng Sen
I like it when I can see the face of the man on the street who just sold me a bunch of rambutans in the face of a Buddha. The globular contour of the eye under the skin, the luxurious ear lobes, the full smile, and the large nose combine to suggest a graciousness, an abundance, and an openness.