Khmer Stele Frieze depicting Standing Dvarapala, 10th Century
Dimensions: height 92.2 cm, width 45.7 cm, depth 13.5 cm
An impressive large sandstone frieze in very high relief depicting a Dvarapala guardian standing elevated on a small leaf-decorated plinth within a highly ornamented arched architectural frame. The Dvarapala is seen frontally, while his right hand is held up balancing a lance that is standing on the ground and facing up, and his lowered left hand holds a large lotus bud of a blue lotus.
The Dvarapala’s face is that of a young male, with a benign expression. The beard lines were carefully incised, as well as the outlines of his eyes. The elongated earlobes and the three incised rings around his neck reveal the Dvarapala’s divinity. His neatly plaited tresses, represented by carefully incised striations, are swept up and the strands have been arranged into a chignon.
The fingernails, toenails, chest and navel are delicately defined with incisions. The elaborate sampot flows in sinuous folds and is secured around the waist with a wide belt.
Just above the head hangs an umbrella, suspended from the lower scalloped edge of the arch under which the Dvarapala stands. The arch is ornamented with intricate vine and foliage scrolls. The arch rests upon two square pillars that have capitals and bases decorated with two bands of overlapping palm leaf motif. Both the pillars and the wide ledge on the bottom upon which the pillars and the plinth rest are adorned with an incised flower pattern.
Dvarapala guardians are protectors of the Hindu god Shiva and both the lance and the blue lotus are attributes of Shiva. They are somewhat rare in Khmer art, as Apsaras appear more often as temple guardians or exterior figures.
Originally purchased in New York in 1970.