The sculptures, probably Shiva and Uma, convey the beauty that is distinctive of works of the 11th century Baphuon period. It is speculated that these sculptures were excavated from the same site; it’s rare to find sculptures that were originally created as a pair.
The Shiva wears a sampot that is wrapped around his waist, pulled between his legs and tied in the front; the texture of the fabric is represented by finely carved striations. The excess material falls in stylized folds over the garment that is depicted as a series of folds. The sampot is held together with a belt. The intricate belt that secures the garment is positioned low on the hips and is elaborately ornamented suggesting sovereignty. The portion of the garment that covers the back is fashioned higher than the front.
The features of the face are imbued with tenderness and solitude. The vertical tresses of his hair are fashioned into a jatamukuta, (symbolic of his ascetic powers or of being an ascetic), and the unique inverted cone-shaped usnisa is surmounted by a gem radiance.
Most often in Baphuon art, whether the sculptures are in commemoration of prior rulers, or of a god or goddess, they are depicted smiling, with powerful upper bodies, slender waists and are typically less monumental in scale than the sculptures of other Khmer periods. The Baphuon style is an understated yet sensuous treatment of the human body that is naturalistically rendered. They have not been encumbered by extensive ornamentation, yet lavish attention has been given to the details of the clothing and belts. The stylization of the back of the garment being higher in the back than the front is typical to the sculptures of the 11th century, Baphuon style, as is the thick proportionate modeling of the legs and ankles, that allowed the statues to be free standing.
The lovely sculpture of a goddess or deified queen is elegantly proportioned and exhibiting the characteristic harmony typical of the Baphuon style. Her face has a sweet gentle expression and her faintly smiling mouth is full and sensuous. The plaited vertical tresses of her hair are fashioned into a jatamukuta that is surmounted with a lotus medallion that is held in place by a similarly fashioned band. The curvature of her voluptuous body is realistically rendered, with full breasts, feminine abdomen and pronounced hips and buttocks. The snug fitting sarong is folded in narrow pleats, represented by incised linear striations that are meticulous in their uniformity. The excessive edges of the sarong are tied in a flat knot and form a fishtail fold that terminates at the hemline. An ornamental belt that secures the garment is positioned low on her hips implying elevated status. No attributes remain to more specifically identify her.
These sculptures have excellent provenance; they were originally purchased in the 1960’s from a gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City. An expert on Southeast Asian art reviewed and authenticated these sculptures.
Male Deity: Height w/o base 22.25”, with base 25”
Female Deity: Height w/o base 23.5”, with base 26”