Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lintel with Anthropomorphic Dragon in Foliage

mid-7th century
Central Cambodia
H. 18 1/2 in. (47 cm); W. 56 in. (142.2 cm); D. 10 in. (25.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Margery and Harry Kahn, 1985
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 244
This lintel once graced the east entrance to an early Khmer brick sanctuary. Its uniqueness lies in its decoration, given to a single motif: a glaring, fearsome monster face with anthropomorphic arms and hands, emerging from luxuriant foliage. Where did such a creature originate? The protective kirttimukha (face of glory) is an ancient motif in Indian art. This mask also hints at Chinese dragons, such as the monster-faced anthropomorph in funerary sculpture of the Northern Qi and Sui dynasties (6th–7th century). This rare Khmer rendering of a monster mask is among the earliest known in a Southeast Asian context.

cat. no. 18
Probably from Sambor Prei Kuk or Prei Kmeng

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