Jayavarman VII on Bayon Towers, Bayon Style. ContemporaryThe majesty and pathos of fin-de-siecle Cambodia is captured in this self-portrait of Jayavarman VII, the restless genius whose delusions of divinity drove the Khmer empire to the brink of ruin. This effigy, taken from the towers of Bayon, the temple-mountain in the heart of Angkor Thom, has been interpreted as representing either Lokesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion with whom Jayavarman VII identified as king, or the Enlightened One himself as Buddharaja (the Sovereign Buddha). In either case however its features are those of Jayavarman VII himself. Over two hundred such portraits are estimated to have originally adorned the spires of Bayon, the cosmic Axis Mundi, from which they looked down benevolently (the literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Lokesvara) upon the empire. Jayavarman was a fanatic Buddhist who, to fulfill his divine destiny, launched himself into such an expansive construction of religious monuments as to exhaust the empire and leave it prey to the insurrections and popular revolts that followed shortly upon his death.
Cast Stone There is a particular region of Thailand that has a long tradition of sandstone sculpting. Unfortunately, the number of exceptional artisans has dwindled in recent generations; there is only a handful of artisans left who qualify for the highest level of Thai craftsmanship. Fortunately, Eastern Serenity has been able to locate them and their prot??g??s. In making cast sandstone, the artisans will hand-design the master relief out of clay - a process that might take weeks to complete, depending on the size and detail of the piece. A mold is then made of this original clay master; this can be a very difficult task for our more detailed pieces. This mold is then used to make reproductions of the original. However, as there are many variables this is not a straightforward task. Determining color and strength is extremely difficult. Too much of one mixing agent can make the piece prone to the elements of nature, too little and the casting just will not hold together. We have also determined how to achieve the right coloring effect - whether it is a long-lasting matte color or a finish that will fade naturally and quickly to give the piece a naturally weathered look. Eastern Serenity has spent the time to discover the correct balance of sandstone powder, binding material, and coloring agents to use for the right outcome. Our sandstone pieces are set in frames of local tropical wood, professionally constructed to give you a long lasting wall hanging with a natural, tropical look and feel.