Exhibitions/ Art Object

Jayavarman VII

Sopheap Pich (born Battambang, Cambodia 1971)
Rattan, plywood, burlap, beeswax, charcoal, spray paint
H. 66 in. (167.6 cm); W. 36 1/2 in. (92.7 cm); D. 22 1/2 in. (57.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Lent by Museum of Arts & Design, New York, Museum Purchase with funds provided by Alan and Marcia Docter, 2012
Rights and Reproduction:
© The Artist and Tyler Rollins Fine Art
Not on view
“King Jayavarman VII is the most well-known and revered Khmer king from eleventh-century Cambodia. He is known not only for being a great warrior against foreign invaders and builder of great temples such as the Bayon and Ta Prohm, but as the builder of hospitals, reservoirs, and roads. For my part, I saw a clay mold being prepared for casting a bust of the king at a foundry in the countryside and was immediately drawn to its odd heart shape with two openings on the top side. I was told later that one was for pouring in the bronze and another for the wax to flow out. The heart form had occurred in my works time and again, and I returned to it here. The two suction cups, from a chiropractor’s clinic in Phnom Penh, symbolize traditional forms of healing. In Cambodia we still use basic techniques like suction cups and coins on the body to draw out infections—something that I still use on myself when I’m not well. The idea to use the heart-shaped form as opposed to the normal ‘portrait’ is because I am not really convinced that the king looks like the statues that we often see of him, something like the Buddha, looking content in a meditative state. I wanted to portray him as an idea and not as if he was a real person.” —Sopheap Pich