Cambodia, early Phnom Da style, Pre-Angkorean Period / Krishna  Govardhana / first half 6th CenturyCambodia, early Phnom Da style, Pre-Angkorean Period
Krishna Govardhana
first half 6th Century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Cambodian
Creator Dates/Places: Cambodia
Creator Active Place: Cambodia
Creator Name-CRT: Cambodia, early Phnom Da style, Pre-Angkorean Period
Title: Krishna Govardhana
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 500
Creation End Date: 550
Creation Date: first half 6th Century
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: gray limestone
Dimensions: Overall: 244cm, without base: 200.8cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1973.106
Credit Line: John L. Severance Fund
Context: This sculpture of Krishna lifting Mount Govardhana represents the god in his aspect as the savior of mankind: by lifting the mountain, he provided his followers with shelter from torrential rains and flooding. The Phnom Da style that this sculpture illustrates is the earliest phase of Cambodian art and a prototype for later Cambodian sculpture. The sophistication of this precursory style can be attributed to Cambodian artists' knowledge of Indian sculpture, since Southeast Asia was colonized by Indians at that time. Aside from the great art-historical significance of this image and its rarity (there are only a handful of images of the early Phnom Da style known, most of them in the Phnom Penh Museum in Cambodia), in purely aesthetic terms it is one of the sculptural masterpieces of the world. The plasticity of the body, the physical beauty, and the spiritual content reflect the great influence of classical Indian Gupta style sculpture, which inspired Phnom Da sculpture. When this image of Krishna Govardhana was acquired by the museum in 1973 from the well-known private collection of Adolphe Stoclet in Brussels, the lower portion of the stele with the legs was missing. Many fragmentary pieces of early Pre-Angkorean sculptures discovered in the hamlet of Phnom Da by the French Archaeological Mission of the ýcole Franýaise d'Extrýme-Orient in 1935 had been sent to Stoclet who intended to have them restored. The fragments were so badly broken and in such a poor state of preservation that the task, in the circumstances available to a private collector, proved too onerous. Shortly after Stoclet's attempt, the fragments were abandoned in his garden in Brussels where they lay buried for the next forty-odd years. Subsequently, in 1977 this author "excavated" them, making the restoration of sculpture to its present form possible. S.C.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1973.106
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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