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.
- God Shiva as a Deified King
- 65.8 × 21.3 × 20.3 cm (25 7/8 × 8 3/8 × 8 in.)
- Gift of Marilynn B. Alsdorf