Southern Cambodia or Vietnam

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 245

Sculptures of Shiva in human form began to appear in Khmer art in the seventh century, probably in response to the rising popularity of the Vaishnava cult that celebrated Vishnu as a king-like divinity, accessible and benign. The slim, almost adolescent figure displays a disconcerting realism in the modeling of the pectoral muscles and the subtle suggestion of the underlying ribcage. Yet the face is strong and authoritative—the face of a stern god—with a mustache, full lips, and strong arched eyebrows. A vertical third eye marks the forehead.

cat. no. 90

Shiva, Sandstone, Southern Cambodia or Vietnam

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