Cambodian / Shiva / Angkor period, late 10th-early 11th centuryCambodian
Angkor period, late 10th-early 11th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Cambodian
Creator Name-CRT: Cambodian
Title: Shiva
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 966
Creation End Date: 1033
Creation Date: Angkor period, late 10th-early 11th century
Creation Place: Cambodia
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: sandstone
Dimensions: H. 41 in. (104.1 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.064
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The study of Cambodian and Thai sculpture dating from the 10th to 14th centuries is primarily the study of the civilization and culture of the Khmer empire. The Khmers inhabited and controlled parts of mainland Southeast Asia from the 6th century onward.Historically, they are best known for the era called the Angkor period (c. 802-1431), named for the Khmer capital. Angkor remains one of the most remarkable cities in world history and is noted for the vast number of breathtaking monuments constructed there from the 10th to 13th centuries. These structures range from relatively small temples to the gigantic temple mountains of Baphuon and Angkor Wat. Most of the temples are profusely decorated, and Khmer sculpture is generally dated by reference to such monuments, with classifications such as 'Baphuon style.'

The smooth body and finely detailed treatment of clothing and crown date this sculpture of the Hindu god Shiva to the late 10th or early 11th century. Shiva's powerful upper torso and his headdress are typical of sculptures carved for the temple mountain of Koh Ker (c. 921-c. 945), while there are also parallels with the headdress in examples associated with Banteay Srei, which dates to the late 10th century. The double outlining of his lips and the shape of his eyebrows also parallel details found on sculptures at Koh Ker. The hint of slim elegance in his physique and the use of low-relief decoration to depict his garments, however, are closer to 11th-century sculptures, the period of Baphuon's construction.

Shiva wears a short skirtlike garment known as a sampot that is wrapped around his waist, pulled between his legs, and tied in the front. The excess material falls in stylized folds over the garment, which is depicted as a seriesof very thin folds. The god also wears a lavish cloth belt, under which an additional piece of fabric has been placed. Typical of late 10th-century sculptures is the thickness of the legs (and presumably the ankles), which would have allowed the carved figure to stand without additional support. The contrast between the textured garment and the softer skin is often found in Cambodian sculptures, particularly those dating from the 10th to 12th centuries.

Identified by the diamond-shaped third eye inthe center of his forehead, this four-armed representation of Shiva has an intriguing iconographic history. The shape of an abraded image in the center of the headdress suggests that it once represented a stupa or a seated buddha, emblems used to identify respectively the bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara. The apparently deliberate abrasion of the image suggests that this was a Buddhist sculpture that was recarved for use as a Hindu image, at which time the third eye was probably added.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 32.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd--Part II. New York: Asia Society, 1975, pp. 38, 39, 44.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Hong Kong and Singapore: Hong Kong Museum of Art and National Museum Singapore, 1993, pp. 84, 85.
Related Document Description: Treasures of Asian Art: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, The Asia Society, New York. Tokyo: Idemitsu Museum of Arts, 1992, pp. 66, 131.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.064
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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