Period: Angkor period
Date: 11th century
Culture: Cambodia (Angkor, Siem Reap Province)
Medium: Gilt-copper alloy, silver inlay
Dimensions: H. 51 1/2 in. (130.8 cm); W. 14 in. (35.6 cm); D. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Credit Line: From the Collection of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1988
Accession Number: 1988.355
This figure is the most intact metal image surviving from Angkor. It belongs to a small group of metal sculptures of Hindu deities associated with royal cult practices that was discovered in Khmer territories in Cambodia and northeastern Thailand. Although it defies ready identification — the gesturing hands neither conform to a standard iconographic mudra nor hold key attributes — the figure may portray Shiva in anthropomorphic form, an unusual representation in Khmer art. It is possible that the sculpture served a dual purpose, representing primarily a cult icon for worship in a royal sanctuary and also acting as an ancestor image of a deceased ruler.