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Stone figure of Mamaki


Height: 48.000 cm

Gift of Reverend Raffles Flint, executor for Lady Raffles

Asia OA 1859.12-28.171

Room 33: Asia

    Stone figure of Mamaki

    From Candi Jago, eastern Java
    13th to 14th century AD

    A Buddhist goddess collected by the founder of Singapore

    The goddess Mamaki is seated on a double lotus throne. In her left hand she holds a lotus. Her right hand, with the palm facing outward, is shown in the gesture of giving (varadamudra). On the surface of the stone stele behind the image is an inscription that identifies the goddess. Mamaki is the consort of the male bodhisattva, Ratnasambhava.

    The Buddhist temple of Candi Jago was built as a memorial to Wisnuwardhana, king of Singasari, who died in 1268. Building royal memorial temples to the deified dead was a common practice in Java and elsewhere in South-east Asia, such as Khmer Cambodia, in the ninth to thirteenth centuries.

    Among the earliest foreign visitors to the temple at Candi Jago was Lieutenant-Governor Stamford Raffles in 1815. In his two-volume work, The History of Java (1817), he describes the temple for the first time. Although he does not mention this sculpture, an illustration of it is included in his book. A portrait of Raffles painted in 1817 (now in the National Portrait Gallery, London) includes what appears to be this sculpture on the table beside him. Other sculptures from this temple are in the National Museum in Jakarta, Indonesia, but this is the best preserved. Many other antiquities from Java collected by Raffles entered The British Museum in 1859, given by the heir of Lady Raffles, the Revd Raffles Flint. These include a bronze figure of Vairocana. (see Related Objects).

    J. Fontein (ed.), The sculpture of Indonesia (National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1990)

    N. Barley (ed.), The golden sword: Stamford Raf (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

    W. Zwalf (ed.), Buddhism: art and faith (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)


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    On display: Room 33: Asia

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