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Khmer sculpture soon goes beyond religious representation, which becomes almost a pretext in order to portray court figures in the guise of gods and goddesses.But furthermore, it also comes to constitute a means and end in itself for the execution of stylistic refinement, like a kind of testing ground.We have already seen how the social context of the Khmer kingdom provides a second key to understanding this art.But we can also imagine that on a more exclusive level, small groups of intellectuals and artists were at work, competing among themselves in mastery and refinement as they pursued a hypothetical perfection of style.Buddhist art originated in the Indian subcontinent in the centuries following the life of the historical Gautama Buddha in the 6th to 5th century BCE, before evolving through its contact with other cultures and its diffusion through the rest of Asia and the world.Buddhist art traveled with believers as the dharma spread, adapted, and evolved in each new host country.It is generally believed that seafaring merchants brought Indian customs and culture to ports along the gulf of Thailand and the Pacific while trading with China. At various times, Cambodia culture also absorbed elements from Javanese, Chinese, Lao, and Thai cultures.The history of Visual arts of Cambodia stretches back centuries to ancient crafts; Khmer art reached its peak during the Angkor period.
The former is a branch of the Kagyu School and is known for paintings documenting the lineage of Buddhist masters and the 70 Je Khenpo (leaders of the Bhutanese monastic establishment).It developed to the north through Central Asia and into Eastern Asia to form the Northern branch of Buddhist art, and to the east as far as Southeast Asia to form the Southern branch of Buddhist art.In India, Buddhist art flourished and even influenced the development of Hindu art, until Buddhism nearly disappeared in India around the 10th century CE due in part to the vigorous expansion of Islam alongside Hinduism. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of aspirants and adepts, a spiritual teaching tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction.All sacred images are made to exact specifications that have remained remarkably unchanged for centuries.Bhutanese art is particularly rich in bronzes of different kinds that are collectively known by the name Kham-so (made in Kham) even though they are made in Bhutan, because the technique of making them was originally imported from the eastern province of Tibet called Kham.