Antique Khmer Style Baphuon and Banteay Srei Stone Vishnu & Lakshmi Statue - 99cm/40"
Measures (Height) 99cm/40"
Antique Khmer style torso, in the in the pre-Angkorian styles of Baphuon and Banteay Srei, depicting both Vishnu and Lakshmi.
Half of the torso represents Vishnu and the other Lakshmi. A very unusual piece. Vishnu is both world protector and preserver, restorer of moral order - he is all-powerful and all-pervasive by nature. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage. Vishnu is stylistically and iconographically executed in traditional 'Baphuon' style, from Khmer mythology.
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. 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.
As is traditional, Vishnu wears a short stylized sampot worn high on the hips, secured by a intricately decorated belt. Alongside Vishnu we have his consort Lakshmi, the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm.
Also called Mahalakshmi, she is said to bring good luck, and is believed to protect her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows. The 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.
Lakshmi is clothed in a long pleated sampot, with an over fold and a plain cloth sash arranged in eleventh century style. The lower edge of the central pleat opens into an oblique ornate fishtail, in front, typical of the Banteay Srei style. The Bantreay Srei style developed at the same time as the Pre Rup style and overlaps that of the Kleang. It uses and develops the formulas of the Koh Ker style, the headdress with horizontal tresses and the conical mukuta.
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 provide 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 Banteay Srei period. 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 and the sensuality of Lakshmi typical of the Baphuon/Banteay Srei periods. The embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. Also called Mahalakshmi, she is said to bring good luck, and is believed to protect her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows.
The torso is loose mounted on a wood base (later).
The perfect traditional in appearance Vishnu to bring serenity and timeless style to you home, office or sacred space.
Christie's Auction House - Sale 13482 (May 2016) - The Dani & Anna Ghigo Collection
Sotherby's - September 2005 - INDIAN & SOUTHEAST ASIAN ART
New York Metropolitan Museum Collection - Accession Number: 1984.128a, b
Provenance: Estate of a private Singapore based collector.
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Vishnu represents eternal life and sustains the universe as a whole. Hindu households will often have several Vishnu statues but can a Vishnu idol bring personal peace and prosperity into the home?