Khmer Thai Lokeshvara, Bayon Style, Sandstone - For Sale
Khmer Thai Lokeshvara, Bayon Style, Sandstone
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This is a fine sandstone head; in Bayon style 12th or early 13th century, of Lokeshvara also known as Avalokiteshavara. It is very idealized; it is probably a portrait of King Jayavarman VII, rather than a divine image. The meditative “Bayon smile” that so masterfully plays on his lips conveys great tenderness and brings a sense of light and life to the sculpture. The lowered eyelids curve naturalistically, and the incised pupils gaze down between the half opened eyelids. The realistically rendered eyebrows flow naturally into his forehead. The powerful forehead leads naturally in to his finely plaited hair, which is swept up in an elaborate mass of small triangular curls. The base of the chignon is decorated with an image of Amitabha, Lokeshvara’s spiritual father, shown seated in meditation.
In approximately 1219 Jayavarman VII’s reign came to an end and Indravarman II ascended the throne. As the new ruler he reintroduced Shivaism, spawning a period of intolerance that was unique in the Khmer civilization. Nearly all Buddhist images and statuary were destroyed making this fine example of the head of Lokeshvara very rare.
Condition: Very good, originally this head was part of a larger sculpture but was separated in ancient times. The lower tip of the left ear is missing and at the lower tip of the right ear a small chip is missing. The surface shows age, wear from the elements and deposits from burial.
The sculpture was originally purchased in June of 1965 from a gallery in Miami, Florida. It was reviewed and authenticated by an expert in Southeast Asian art.
Height without base 12.6” and 15.75” including the base; width 6.75”