Pair of Khmer Bronze Elephant Bells and Palanquin Handles - X.0224 - For Sale

Pair of Khmer Bronze Elephant Bells and Palanquin Handles - X.0224
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The Khmer civilization, today embodied by the temples and ruins of Angkor, one of mankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements and the largest religious monument in the world, flourished from 802-1431 A.D. From the great citadel of Angkor, the kings of the Khmer empire ruled over a vast domain that reached from what is now southern Vietnam to Yunan, China and from Vietnam westward to the Bay of Bengal. The original city was built around the Phnom Bakeng, a temple on a hill symbolizing the mountain that stands in the center of the world according to Hindu cosmology. Successive kings enlarged the city, building other temples devoted to various Hindu deities and large reservoirs used for irrigation, which also symbolized the ocean surrounding the holy central mountain. The most celebrated of the Angkor temple complexes is Angkor Wat, constructed under King Suryavarman II (reigned 1113-1150).Khmer art depicting armies on the march shows images of elephants carrying the king or nobility into battle. Bells such as this pair hung from the elephant's saddle, ringing as the animal moved. Massive, yet elegant in their simplicity, these bells may well have once adorned a royal elephant. Even silent, they suggest timeless power and privilege. The large nature of these bells is opposed by the delicate, sinuous lines of the pair of palanquin hooks. A palanquin is a covered traveling litter used by oriental nobility. The beauty of these hooks almost makes us forget that they originally had a practical function. Two rings attached to the wooden body were suspended from two hooks through which passed a pole. The litter was borne on the shoulders of two or more porters. Only the highest classes were permitted palanquin fittings of bronze, and this stunning piece was no doubt worthy of royalty. These gorgeous bronze artifacts are stunning examples of the majesty of Khmer art. Although they were used for starkly different purposes as evident by their sizes and shapes, both reflect a mastery of bronze working and elegant decorative elements that characterize Khmer art. - (X.0224)

Ancient Asian
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Barakat Gallery
405 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
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