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God Shiva as a Deified King

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.


Angkor period, 13th century


Vietnam or Cambodia
Southern Vietnam or Cambodia

About this artwork

This bronze icon of the Hindu god Shiva comes from Vietnam or Cambodia and differs in several aspects from his original renditions in India. Here, for example, Shiva is identifiable by his snake armband and the presence of his third eye, with his long hair tied up in a topknot like that of an ascetic. In India, on the other hand, he is usually shown as a smooth-faced youth in one of his several guises: a wild yogi; a young husband and family man accompanied by his bull, Nandi; Lord of the Dance; or an abstract symbol of creation. Here he appears with all the weight and importance of a mature, distinguished royal personage. Around the neck and shoulders he bears a multi-strand necklace; in his ears are massive, pendant earrings; and around the hips he wears a patterned sampot with a long ornamental panel falling in a point over his thigh.

This sculpture was discovered in Vietnam, although it may have been moved there from elsewhere in the Khmer kingdom. It may have functioned both as a religious icon and as a memorial dedicated by a king. The personalized facial features reinforce the idea that this is a portrait as well as an image of a deity, possibly a deified royal guru figure who identified himself with Shiva.


On View, Gallery 142


Arts of Asia


God Shiva as a Deified King


Vietnam (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.





65.8 × 21.3 × 20.3 cm (25 7/8 × 8 3/8 × 8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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