Like other areas in Southeast Asia, Cambodia encountered waves of Indian influence beginning in the early centuries of this millennium. The land was occupied by a variety of independent kingdoms, which over time were welded together into larger communities by powerful kings. by the early ninth century the Khmers (Cambodians) had started building an empire that by the twelfth and thirteenth centuries dominated mainland Southeast Asia. This empire has dome to be known by the modern name of its capital, Angkor. The Angkorian civilization is famous for its massive and breathtakingly elegant stone temples dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist gods. 

Angkor Vat (#313) - 12th century
The Bayon, Angkor Thom (#318) - 12th - 13th century
Towers of the Bayon, Angkor Thom (#320)
Bridge showing the churning of the sea of milk, Angkor Thom (#319)



The single prevailing feature of Thai history is its constant fidelity to Buddhism, and Thai sculpture is dominated by images of the Buddha. Thai Buddhist images of the Dvaravati period (6-10th C.) reveal an unquestioning dependence on the Indian Gupta style. The Dvaravati empire came to an end in the tenth century when the Khmers invaded and established themselves as rulers. Art produced under the Khmers was simply a local offshoot of the developed Cambodian style. It was not until the Khmers were expelled in the thirteenth century and a native dynasty established that what can actually be described as a Thai style emerged.

Seated Buddha (#156) - 14th century
Walking Buddha (#157) - 14th century


One of the great monuments of Buddhist art in southeast Asia is the architectural mandala at Borobudur in the central part of Java. Built in the eighth century, Borobudur was intended as a mini-representation of the universe. Worshippers would enter the structure and perform the rite of circumambulation, their physical climb through the architecture symbolizing the path from the material world to enlightenment. 

Borobudur (#161) - 8th century
Seated Buddha (#165) - 8th century 

mandala - a geometric diagram which symbolizes the Buddhist universe; Mandalas can take the form of paintings, sculpture, or architecture.