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The Hindu deity Parvati
Place of Origin: Cambodia, former kingdom of Angkor
Date: approx. 975-1025
Materials: Sandstone
Style or Ware: Baphuon
Dimensions: H. 41 in x W. 13 1/2 in x D. 6 in, H. 104.1 cm x W. 34.3 cm x D. 15.2 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Sculpture
Object Number: B66S3
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 9

Description

Label:

Gods and Kings

In the ancient kingdom of Angkor (in present day Cambodia and parts of Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam) from which these sculptures (B66S2 and B66S3) come, the relationship of gods and kings was thought to be close. Numerous kings built temples dedicated to Shiva, in which the god was represented abstractly in a cylindrical phallic symbol (linga) or in human form, as shown here. Shiva was believed to be involved with both creation and destruction and was also linked with the power of deceased kings and other royal ancestors.

In Angkor and elsewhere, gods were depicted as kingly figures with luxurious garments and lavish crowns and jewelry. At the same time, kings presented themselves as godlike, positioned in temples and palaces that evoked the fabled dwellings of the gods. The victories and other accomplishments of kings were also portrayed as emulating those of the gods and legendary heroes.

Graceful Figures

Strong, serene, and tender, the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati are represented as idealized and yet approachable. The third eye in the middle of the forehead of the male figure (B66S2) identifies him as Shiva. His wife is Parvati (B66S3). Both these deities are sometimes shown as supernatural forms with multiple arms, and both have violent and frightening guises as well. Here, however, we see them as a graceful young man and woman. Before and after the era of these sculptures, artists in ancient Cambodia usually accentuated the awesome power and remoteness of the gods. In the late 900s, however, and continuing for some time, gentleness and sensitivity were often emphasized. Notice here the carefully calculated contrast of minutely textured clothing and jewelry with the expanses of smooth, soft skin.

Temple Architecture

A major, royally sponsored temple to Shiva built in approximately the period of these sculptures has in recent decades undergone a huge project of conservation and stabilization to preserve it for the future.

One of the two videos available on the Resources tab shows what that temple probably would have looked like when it was new. The other video highlights more of the great temples the kings of ancient Cambodia built in their capital.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Avery Brundage Collection: Selected Works of World Art", National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico), October 1, 1968 - November 39, 1968
Label:

Gods and Kings

In the ancient kingdom of Angkor (in present day Cambodia and parts of Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam) from which these sculptures (B66S2 and B66S3) come, the relationship of gods and kings was thought to be close. Numerous kings built temples dedicated to Shiva, in which the god was represented abstractly in a cylindrical phallic symbol (linga) or in human form, as shown here. Shiva was believed to be involved with both creation and destruction and was also linked with the power of deceased kings and other royal ancestors.

In Angkor and elsewhere, gods were depicted as kingly figures with luxurious garments and lavish crowns and jewelry. At the same time, kings presented themselves as godlike, positioned in temples and palaces that evoked the fabled dwellings of the gods. The victories and other accomplishments of kings were also portrayed as emulating those of the gods and legendary heroes.

Graceful Figures

Strong, serene, and tender, the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati are represented as idealized and yet approachable. The third eye in the middle of the forehead of the male figure (B66S2) identifies him as Shiva. His wife is Parvati (B66S3). Both these deities are sometimes shown as supernatural forms with multiple arms, and both have violent and frightening guises as well. Here, however, we see them as a graceful young man and woman. Before and after the era of these sculptures, artists in ancient Cambodia usually accentuated the awesome power and remoteness of the gods. In the late 900s, however, and continuing for some time, gentleness and sensitivity were often emphasized. Notice here the carefully calculated contrast of minutely textured clothing and jewelry with the expanses of smooth, soft skin.

Temple Architecture

A major, royally sponsored temple to Shiva built in approximately the period of these sculptures has in recent decades undergone a huge project of conservation and stabilization to preserve it for the future.

One of the two videos available on the Resources tab shows what that temple probably would have looked like when it was new. The other video highlights more of the great temples the kings of ancient Cambodia built in their capital.


Exhibition History: "Avery Brundage Collection: Selected Works of World Art", National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico), October 1, 1968 - November 39, 1968
Resources:

Video: The Divine Royal Couple: Shiva and Parvati from Angkor (Part 1 of 2): http://youtu.be//aConme48W4k
Video: The Divine Royal Couple: Shiva and Parvati from Angkor (Part 2 of 2): http://youtu.be/iHMCA28leKU

Forrest McGill, Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum, discusses masterpieces in the Asian Art Museum's collection. A lecture presented by the Society for Asian Art on Februray 20, 2015.