Antique Baphuon Style Mounted Sandstone Vishnu Statue - 88cm/35"
Measurements Height 88cm/35"
Antique Baphuon style Khmer sandstone Vishnu statue.
The divine Hindu preserver and protector of human life, a role that provided natural analogies with earthly kingship for the Khmer. The Vishnu 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 fullness of the forms give the face a softness which accentuates the eyes opened wide, and the fleshy and sensual lips. The anatomy shows a strong sense of observation.
The overall silhouette is elegant and a reminder of the Pre Angkorian Art. The ornate carving of the diadem provides a delightful contrast with the smooth, polished stone, facial features. The inner rims of the ears display the characteristic tripart scalloped treatment. The lobes showing stone jewels which would have been supplemented with real jewels during rituals and ceremonies. The face is defined by slightly arched eyebrows, full rimmed lips, beard, wide open rimmed eyes and a rather broad, flat nose. The traditional beauty lines on both neck are typical of Khmer craftsmanship.
A conical three tier chignon-cover surmounts the head and is surrounded by a diadem tied in the back with a bow know, typical of the Baphuon period. The deity is masterfully modelled in realistic human form, standing in a strong frontal posture on a small square plinth retaining the original wedge support at the bottom.
The Vishnu torso has a slender waist, broad hips and shoulders, wearing a vertically striated sampot high at the back curving steeply in the front to below the navel, bound by a plain belt tied with the end hanging down onto the left thigh and pulled up under the belt with two curled ends just below the navel, the fabric pulled between the legs and wrapped around the belt at the back, the pleated ends forming a 'butterfly wing' shape. The back of the feet show the supporting elements left in place, as is typical of the Baphuon period.
The figure is presented in its unrepaired condition as found, elegantly modelled from a solid block of sandstone.
As with images from this period, the ornamentation reflects a perfect mastery of sculpting and fluidity. Facial features of the statue retain characteristics of the previous Banteay Srei style, but appear more delicate. Generally, the statues are small in size, but in scale with the temple, a feeling of elegance and softness is given off by the whole.
The image radiates an aloofness, the quiet power of Vishnu typical of the Baphuon period. The embodiment of beauty, grace and charm.
The Vishnu torso is mounted on a wood base (later).
Provenance: Ex- private Singapore 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.