Sandstone Single-Sided Dharmachakra, Wheel of Law Khmer Mon-Dvāravatī, 8th – 10th century - For Sale

Sandstone Single-Sided Dharmachakra, Wheel of Law Khmer Mon-Dvāravatī, 8th – 10th century
Price: $10000.00
Sandstone Single-Sided Dharmachakra, Wheel of Law
Khmer Mon-Dvāravatī, 8th – 10th century

Height: 104.1 cm

This sandstone Dvāravatī sculpture is composed of two pieces: the top piece with the “wheel” and base sits on top of another larger base. The upper section has a tenon that fits into the lower base for a secure fit.

The “Wheel of Law” or dharmachakra in Sanskrit is one of the earliest and most significant of the Buddhist symbols. Its association with Buddhism can be traced to the first sermon of Gautama Buddha (c.566-c. 486 B.C.). The Dharmachakra is a Buddhist symbol of Hindu origin that has represented dharma, the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment, since the early period of Indian Buddhism.

In the Dvāravatī/Mon culture the two Indian religious systems--Hindu and Buddhist--existed side by side without conflict. Hinduism continued to provide the cultural setting in which Buddhist religious values and ethical standards were articulated. Although Buddhism and Hinduism were practiced by the Dvāravatī/Mon and the Khmer, in popular practice they incorporated many local cults. The Dharmachakra of northeastern Thailand can sometimes be associated with the worship of the Sun. Although this belief is not found in the northeast as it is in the central culture, the featuring of the flame-like motif, which symbolizes the sun around the dharmachakra is evident. The figure in this sculpture is the Hindu sun god, Surya, who holds a lotus in each hand.

The style of the Dvāravatī sculpture borrows heavily from Indian sculptures of the Gupta period and elements of this period (the columns and capitals) are also employed in the decoration of this wheel. Uniquely in what is present-day Thailand, wheels of this type were produced from the eighth through the tenth century C.E. In the Buddhist world these three-dimensional stone dharmachakras occur only in two places: in India and in Dvāravatī.

Dvāravatī/Mon cultures lasted some 400 years, from the seventh through the tenth century and encompassed a large central area of present-day Thailand. Yet, it is almost totally without a history. Not one monument or art object is dated and there are no indigenous texts associated with Dvāravatī. In spite of their cultural dominance in the region, the Dvāravatī/Mon were repeatedly conquered by their Khmer neighbors. In the tenth century the Dvāravatī/Mon and the whole of the Chao Phraya Valley came under the control of Angkor.

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