- THE COLLECTION
- THE SPIRIT OF THE GALLERY
Head of Shiva wearing a high chignon held by a string of pearls and a finely wrought diadem. Beige sandstone. The face is oval and jowly, the closed eyelids slightly prominent, wide nose and fleshy lips. The ears have distended lobes still pierced from the wearing of the heavy princely earrings. The cylinder-shaped acetic chignon or jatamukuta is a legacy of the pre-Angkor Shivaite hairdos. The neck shawl is made up of hanging braids. The diadem or kiritamukuta ends in a knot at the back of the head and, as can be seen in many sculptures of Angkor Wat, it is composed of rows of petals, beadwork, flowers and floral stems. The incised lines at the base of the neck are beauty pleats. Many signs of erosion, however good state of preservation.
Under most of the reigns in the Angkor period, Shivaism was the state religion. The anthropomorphic images of the god were very numerous at the time, while they resulted quite rare in the pre-Angkor period. Tradition placed Shiva as the most venerated god of Angkor Vat, although the site had been created in honour of Vishnu. Nonetheless, during the different reigns, all worship was respected with an equal faith.