Standing Shiva or Temple Guardian (Dvarapala)

Date: ca. first half of the 10th century

Culture: Vietnam (Champa)

Medium: Stone

Dimensions: H. 50 1/2 in. (128.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Gift of R. H. Ellsworth Ltd., in honor of Douglas Dillon, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.478


Located on a major sea route between India and China, Champa, in the central part of Vietnam, played an important role in early Southeast Asian history. This rare sculpture, which may represent either a temple guardian or the Hindu god Shiva, shows the rugged sculpting and distinctive physiognomy, particularly the prominent mustache, that typify the art of the Chams. He wears a short wrap, which features a long front pocket with an oblique upward curve, and a sash. He carries a rosary in his left hand and a club or trident in his right. An early tenth-century date is suggested by stylistic parallels to sculptures in contemporaneous buildings at Mi Son, an important site dedicated to Shiva, as well as further southeast at Khoung My.