During the 12th century, the Mahayana form of Buddhism gained increasing influence in Cambodia. The iconographic triad of Buddha flanked by Lokeshvara and Prajnaparamita occupied an important place in this believe. Under the reign of Jayavarman VII (1181 - 1218?) it became actually one of the most important icons of all.
The Buddha figure raises above both companions as befits his significance and embodies infinite compassion for all beings in the world and complete wisdom. Both latter are as well personified by the figures of Lokeshvara (compassion) and Prajnaparamita (wisdom) flanking the central Buddha figure. Therefore the group does not present three different figures but embodies a single being in his most important aspects.
Furthermore contemporary Khmer inscriptions have revealed that Lokeshvara was regarded as the deified form of Jayavarman's deceased father while Prajnaparamita was considered to be the deified form of his deceased mother. Jayavarman himself identified with the Buddha seated on the coils of the snake. Thus the triad concentrates physical and spiritual existences into one sacred image, combining Buddha with the royal Khmer family.