Primary Source

Buddha Sheltered by a Naga

Bronze sculpture of Buddha sitting under a tree


This small bronze statue made in Cambodia in the twelfth century shows the serpent king Muchilinda, a type of mythical half human and half cobra being known as a naga, protecting the Buddha. Images of this scene became popular in the twelfth century Khmer Kingdom of today’s Cambodia, sponsored by King Jayavarman VII (c. 1122–1218), a strong supporter of Buddhism. Buddhist ideas came into Southeast Asia from India in a long process that began in the third century. Buddhist objects came with them, but Southeast Asia also developed its own Buddhist traditions, and created devotional objects that reflected these, such as this statue. These were then taken wherever Southeast Asian Buddhists travelled, and sold my merchants as well.

This source is a part of the Trade and Religion in the Indian Ocean Network, 1100-1500 teaching module.


Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky, 1987

How to Cite This Source

"Buddha Sheltered by a Naga," in World History Commons, [accessed February 6, 2023]