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Head of a male deity
Khmer, Angkor period
Baphuon style, 11th century

Head of a male deity

A grey sandstone head of a male deity, probably representing Shiva. The ears are elongated and the hair is intricately braided into a jatamukuta secured by a heavy beaded ring. The eyes are partially closed beneath arched eyebrows and the lips taut, framed by a faintly incised moustache and beard. Faint remnants of red pigment are visible in the hair.

• The expression on the face of this beautifully carved head is that of serenity and purity. The half opened eyes signify that the deity has not yet reached a complete state of enlightenment. The softness and grace characterize the style of the Baphuon period, which lasts for most of the eleventh century. The reduced size, the youthfulness of the face and the distinctive smile mark a new phase in the Baphuon period. Also striking are the incisions in the facial features emphasizing a strong human likeness. A similar head is in the Chartres Museum.1

1 Jessup, H. I. and Zéphir, T. Sculpture of Ankor and the ancient
Cambodia: Millennium of Glory. New York-London, 1997, page 236-237,
figure 1.

Height: 6 1/ 2 inches; 16 cm


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