Ardhanarishvara Statue - Antique Angkor Wat Style Khmer Sandstone Standing Shiva Parvati Statue - 117cm/47"
Measures - (Height) 117cm/47"
An antique Angkor Wat style stone standing Ardhanarishvara statue.
This unusual sculpture represents Ardhanarishvara, the Hindu deity who is half Shiva and half Parvati, making the image half male and half female.
The head has a roughly cylindrical jata (chignon), of which the Shiva half is in the Angkor Wat style, the Parvati in pre-Angkor Baphuon style. The Shiva side displays a narrow moustache in low relief that is balanced by a beauty line beyond the edge of the mouth, in low relief, on the Parvati side. The Parvati side a highly decorated earring whilst both sides present scalloped inner ears rims.
The eyebrow ridge is slightly arched, ridged and crosses the bridge of the nose as became popular from the earlier Khleang period. It is interesting that the Shiva side does not display the customary half of the third eye (as per The Walters Art Gallery Ardhanarishvara - 25.244).
The sculpture embodies authority with its iconic downcast gaze and large unexpressive face. The general silhouette is heavier. The carving is beautiful as you can see in the fine details of the face. Each detail is rendered perfectly. The features suggest the prana, or inner breath, that signifies superhuman power. The figure is clad in traditional Khmer Dhoti.
For the Shiva side the art of Angkor Wat is in many ways in opposition to that of the preceding Baphuon style (as demonstrated on the female side). The style is a return to frontality and hieratism. Reflecting both periods simultaneously this unique sculpture is not submitted to strict iconographic norms, the statue loses stiffness and becomes more human.
The sculpture is a free standing form, in the round. It is clear that the artist anticipated this sculpture being enjoyed from all sides.
Ardhanarishvara is loose mounted on a wood base (later).
Provenance: Ex- private US Collection.
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