Antique Khmer Stone Mounted Angkor Wat Style Yaksha Temple Guardian - 37cm / 15"
Measures (Height) 37cm/15"
An antique Khmer style stone Yaksha or Guardian in the Angkor Wat style.
The Yakshas are a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, but sometimes mischievous or capricious, connected with water, fertility, trees, the forest, treasure and wilderness. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist texts, as well as ancient and medieval era temples of South Asia and Southeast Asia as guardian deities.
In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist texts, the yaksha has a dual personality. On the one hand, a yaksha may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is also a darker version of the yaksha, which is a kind of ghost that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours travellers, similar to the raksasas.
As is traditional, this image of Yaksha is defined by bulging eyes and fangs emanating from the mouth. The Yaksha has a curvy moustache, stippled beard and ear with scalloped inner rim. The hair is dressed in a tiered chignon in the Angkor Wat style. A diadem surrounds the chignon.
The size of the head suggests that it may once have served as a guardian figure. Forming part of a larger stone sculpture.
New York Metropolitan Museum Collection - Accession Number: 1987.142.15 Christie's Auction House - Sale 13482 (May 2016) - The Dani & Anna Ghigo Collection: Part I: South East Asian, Himalayan and Indian Works of Art
Provenance: Ex- private US Collection.
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A deity of contradictions, Shiva the Destroyer, has a tumultuous history which is reflective of his many responsibilities and characterisations. His importance over the universe, but also his personality, make him a popular choice in Hindu art.