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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda. Bangkok National Museum, b075

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda

The “Buddha Protected by Mucalinda” statue tells the story of the Gautama Buddha who while meditating under the Bodhi Tree, had Mucalinda, the mighty King of Serpents, came from beneath the earth to protect him with his hood during an unusually massive storm. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace.

Dating to the 13th century this statue was discovered in Lopburi at the Wat Na Phra Men which is located 150 km north of Bangkok, in central Thailand. This area was a province of Angkor during the 11th – 13th centuries and its art reflect Khmer as well as earlier Dvaravati influences. Mucalinda is the name of a nāga, a snake-like being, who protected the Gautama Buddha from the elements after his enlightenment and it is a favourite theme in Khmer art.

Statues of the Buddha were not made until after the 1st century CE. For the first four hundred years after his death Buddha was represented by symbols alone such as his footprint or an empty throne or Bodhi tree. Early statues examples of Buddha in human form were made four centuries after the Buddhas time.

Buddhist Art

Buddhist Art is the artistic practices that are influenced by Buddhism. Buddhist art originated on the Indian subcontinent following the historical life of Siddhartha Gautama, 6th to 5th century BCE, and after that evolved by contact and interactions with other cultures and artistic traditions as it spread throughout Asia and the world.

Buddhist Art includes the depiction of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other notable Buddhist figures, both historical and mythical.  Buddhist Art also includes narrative scenes from the lives of Buddhist figures; mandalas and other graphic aids for the practice of Buddhism; as well as objects used in the Buddhist traditions, such as vajras, bells, stupas and Buddhist temple architecture.

Explore Buddhist Art

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda

  • Title:                  Buddha Protected by Mucalinda
  • Date:                  13th century
  • Find Site:          Lopburi – Wat Na Phra Men
  • Museum:          National Museum, Bangkok

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“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
– Buddha

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Photo Credit: 1) By Michael Gunther (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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