Thai / Head of Vishnu / 7th-8th centuryThai
Head of Vishnu
7th-8th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Thai
Creator Name-CRT: Thai
Title: Head of Vishnu
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 600
Creation End Date: 799
Creation Date: 7th-8th century
Creation Place: Thailand, possibly Wiang Sa area
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: sandstone
Dimensions: H. 16 3/4 in. (42.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.062
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The diversity of style and iconography in sculptures produced in mainland Southeast Asia from the 6th through 9th centuries reflects the many regional cultures then thriving in that part of the world. In general, two systems of classification are used to help define the regional styles found here: one relies on political terms such as "Dvaravati" and "pre-Angkor," while the more recent system groups by language and/or ethnic types such as Mon and Khmer. It is not certain what ethnic group was responsible for the production of this head. The identification as Vishnu is based on the headdress, known as a kiritamukuta, which is commonly worn by the Hindu god. Several characteristics suggest that this sculpture may have been produced in the central part of the Thai/Malay Peninsula, possibly around the city of Wiang Sa, where several other images of Vishnu have been found. These include the minimally flared shape of Vishnu's crown, the small edges of the hairline seen beneath the crown, and the slightly round face and full features of the god. In addition, sculptures from this part of Thailand generally have the same overlarge crown and ears found on this head. The sculptures found at Wiang Sa are generally dated to the 7th and 8th centuries, providing a time period for this sculpture of Vishnu as well. The shape of Vishnu's face and his type of features do not closely parallel the well-known Mon types found in other parts of peninsular Thailand.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 31.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.062
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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