Thai / Head / Mon style, late 8th-9th centuryThai
Mon style, late 8th-9th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Southeast Asian; Thai
Creator Name-CRT: Thai
Title: Head
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 766
Creation End Date: 899
Creation Date: Mon style, late 8th-9th century
Creation Place: Thailand
Object Type: Sculpture
Materials and Techniques: Stucco
Dimensions: H. 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.079
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. Stucco heads represent a characteristic and relatively unstudied tradition of Mon art. The bejeweled headdress of this head indicates it might be a male figure, perhaps of fairly high rank, and the relatively bold features might reflect the ease of modeling inherent to the medium of stucco. This latter stylistic feature could also help to date the head to the late 8th or 9th century.

Although a number of heads of this type survive, it is difficult to determine their function. Mon-style stucco statues also exist, and this head may once have belonged to a standing figure. The back of the head is unfinished, and it is possible that it was once attached to the side of a wood or brick building as architectural decoration. Similar works in stucco and terracotta are known to have been used in friezes narrating the life of Siddhartha and other Buddhist tales. In general, terracotta pieces, which date to the 7th century, seem to predate the use of stucco in the 8th or 9th century.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 39.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.079
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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