Soapstone also known as “steatite” or “soaprock” is a stone which is notable for its high degree of resistance to heat. In Cambodia, soapstone, which mostly comes from the province of Pursat (in the western part of the country) has been used to carve religious effigies since the 17th century. Any variation in the color of the stone is inherent to the very nature of the material, its array varies from yellow-green to gray and deep purple.
This Buddha has a distinct Cambodian style. Lord Buddha is in the the ‘earth touching’ gesture or ‘earth witness’ also known as bhumisparsha mudra. He is seated on a separately carved single lotus base. Lord Buddha is depicted with heavy eyelids that evoke a mood of introspection and detachment, enhanced by the hint of a smile on the full lips. The distended earlobes, a legacy of Prince Siddhartha’s discarding his heavy gold jewelry further indicates the Buddha’s enlightened status. A simple yet elegant carving. It is unpolished and thus has a matte finish.
This sculpture is a one of a kind statue, hand carved by the very talented artists of Cambodia. Every piece is truly unique!
This piece is inspired by the Adorned Orant of Angkor Wat, a XVth century piece found in the National Museum of Phnom Penh. Orants are compassionate beings, disciples of the Buddha. They are also symbols of good luck and are often placed in the entrance of homes welcoming guests. This Orant is kneeling, expressing humility. His hands are in anjali mudra, the universal greeting and gesture of respect throughout the Buddhist world. This mudra is formed by placing the palms together at the level of the heart, with the fingertips pointed upward.
This Buddha sculpture is shown in Parinirvana. In Buddhism, Parinirvana is the final nirvana, usually within reach only upon the death of the body of someone who has attained complete awakening or bodhi. It is the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice and implies a release from the cycle of deaths and rebirths as well as the dissolution of all worldly physical and mental aggregates or skandhas (perception or consciousness). Lord Buddha is shown resting peacefully. His eyes and face have a serene demeanor showing Siddhartha at ease with passing from this world escaping from the cycle of samsara.