This head of a colossal Buddha is most likely from 14th-century Cambodia, perhaps in the Bayon style. Sandstone. 20 inches high. This ¾-view photograph is by Michel Urtado, a French photographer with expertise in capturing rare museum pieces and panoramas and is offered here in print form.
"I spotted a picture of this stunning Buddha years ago and have been wanting to find an opportunity to share it with our readers ever since. When the issue we entitled "Smile at Fear" came along, the image sprang immediately to mind, because the overall image conveys perfectly the fearless peacefulness that was the theme of that issue and the well-defined lips depict a lovely smile. I’ve yet to see the piece in person, but if I ever chance to return to Paris, it will be one of the first stops on my itinerary". –Liza Matthews, Art Director
The piece is currently housed in the Musée Guimet, the musée national des arts asiatiques, in Paris. The museum is named after Emile Guimet (1836-1918), a Lyons industrialist who decided to open a museum devoted to the religions of Ancient Egypt, Classical Antiquity, and Asia. Guimet visited Egypt and Greece before traveling around the world in 1876, stopping off in Japan, China and India. He acquired an extensive collection, which he put on display in a museum opened in Lyons in 1879. These collections were subsequently transferred to a new museum which he had built in Paris and which was inaugurated ten years later, in 1889. While maintaining a section devoted to the religions of Ancient Egypt, the museum increasingly focused on Asian civilizations.
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