Oldest and largest four-handed Buddha statue recognised in Vietnam


The four-handed Buddha statue in the Linh Son Pagoda of the An Giang Province in Vietnam receives recognition for being the largest and oldest of its kind, dating to between the 2nd and 6th century. The statue was discovered almost a hundred years ago in Oc Eo. It looks like the statue has been painted on recently, as the paint would certainly have not lasted 14 centuries!

Oldest four-handed Buddha statue in Vietnam
Vietnam Net Bridge, 22 May 2009

The 1.7m high, four-handed Buddha statue at Linh Son Pagoda was created between the 2nd and 6th centuries. It is about to be recognised as the oldest and largest four-handed Buddha statue in Vietnam.

The statue was discovered in Oc Eo town, the southern province of An Giang province in 1913. Previously, local residents unearthed two schist-made steles carved with ancient scripts at the same place. Researchers said that these scripts may belong to the ancient Phu Nam people. Local people built Linh Son Pagoda to worship the statue and the two ancient stone steles.

Experts say that statue and the two ancient stone steles are Hindi, similar to the Ba Chua Xu statue on Sam Mountain in Chau Doc, An Giang.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

2 thoughts on “Oldest and largest four-handed Buddha statue recognised in Vietnam”

  1. Old statues are a curiosity. Four-handed and six-handed are all a “hang-over” of the Hindu roots, or should I say, the Indian origin of these statue-makers or their beliefs. Buddha himself would have been appalled at the likeness of a Hindu god that he is being depicted as in many cultures.

    On the topic of Hinduism and Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism has borrowed heavily from Hinduism. Even the oldest Hindu statue or Idol was in the possession of Tibetan Buddhist monks for some centuries before the CIA possessed it.

  2. Can we get to see a photograph of the 4 handed Buddha statue which is 1.7 m tall, and the 2 stone steles which is now brought to light?
    We request the Vietnam authorities to be so kind enough to release these photos for the benefit of the Art lovers in South east Asia.

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