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Compare the use of Buddhist imagery under reigns of Jayavarman V11 and Kyanzittha. How was Buddhism used in each case and in what ways do these differences inform us about differences in political systems at Pagan and Angkor - Essay Example

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In the 19th century a new state of governance emerged with the formation of two powerful states: The kingdoms of Pagan and Angkor in Burma and Cambodia respectively. “Pagan and Angkor were both established in the ninth century, both entered their greatest phases of…
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Compare the use of Buddhist imagery under reigns of Jayavarman V11 and Kyanzittha. How was Buddhism used in each case and in what ways do these differences inform us about differences in political systems at Pagan and Angkor
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Extract of sample "Compare the use of Buddhist imagery under reigns of Jayavarman V11 and Kyanzittha. How was Buddhism used in each case and in what ways do these differences inform us about differences in political systems at Pagan and Angkor"

In the 19th century a new of governance emerged with the formation of two powerful s: The kingdoms of Pagan and Angkor in Burma and Cambodia respectively. “Pagan and Angkor were both established in the ninth century, both entered their greatest phases of institutional brilliance in the eleventh century, both underwent crises in the fourteenth century, and both collapsed in the mid-fifteenth century”5. Both the pagan and Angkor kingdoms had magnificent construction of religious monuments. The pagan kingdom erected ten thousand Buddhist pagodas, monasteries and temples while the Angkor kingdom built temples and waterworks.
One of the unique things in the Angkor life was the belief that the kings have special access to divine beings. That is the reason why Angkor’s rulers labored to edify physical constructions and monuments greater than their predecessors. The Angkor kings showed their political power by subjecting the population to the construction of these monuments “which thus became the cosmic centers from which they wielded their divinely mandated power” 2
The construction of Buddhist monuments were seen to be clearly motivated by the desire of the donors themselves who happened to be the kings, royal kins and elite families. They enamored to create merit for themselves and also to their deceased relatives.
“Presumably something like the royal cults of Angkor also prevailed at Pagan, with
The construction of religious monuments serving simultaneously to demonstrate the legitimacy
of the Pagan state and to provide ritual centers for the expression of its rule. The situation is
not clear, however; there is no evidence by which to reconstruct the early administrative style
of Pagan, and the stories of the role of Buddhism at Pagan in the twelfth century (involving
the King Anuwratha) have been shown to be later legends” 3.
The pagan history reveals a very interesting comparison with the Angkor in Cambodia. This comparison can be examined in three vantage points. First is that like Angkor4. First is that, like Angkor pagan was an inland agrarian polity that “enforces its authority over coastal areas; both Angkor and Pagan are impressive centres of monumental architecture; and the history of each came to an end contemporaneously with the advent of Tai peoples into lowland Southeast Asia”5.
In their early centuries, both the Pagan and the Angkor states actively sponsored religious foundations. Both of them benefitted from the religious foundation in generating economic growth and helping to enlarge their political control. “ From the thirteenth century or so, however, both governments and their successor states increasingly worked to limit the power of the foundations, whose combined wealth represented a challenge to the ruling power of the central state”6
The second prominent king of Pagan, Kyanzittha ruled from 1084 to 1112. He admired the Mon culture and has left inscriptions in the Mon language. He also admired and adapted the Mon Art and architecture. “The Mons appear to have dominated the religious and intellectual life of Pagan at this time, and their language was widely used among ruling class people”7. It was during the reign of Kyanzittha that the assimilation with the Mon culture reached a level of maturity thus his reign was known to be a “synthesis”8.
On the other end, Jayavarman VII did not rely on royal homage to the gods to protect the city.
That’s why his devotion was on the construction of walls. “He also built and repaired many firehouses across the Empire, which are places for travelers to rest. He also built many other buildings which were used as hospitals. There is a childrens hospital in Cambodia named after him. One of the most renown temples he built is Bayon at Angkor”9.
Works Cited
Dargan. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2009, from http://www.dargan.ie: http://www.dargan.ie/proddetail.php?prod=ST055
McRae, J. R. (2009). Comparing East Asian and Southeast Asian Buddhism:. Chung-Hwa Buddhist Journal .
Tarling, N. (1992). The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia: The nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Vol. 1). New York: Cambridge University Press. Read More
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