This finely-polished, exquisitely-carved sculpture of Shiva is identifiable by the third eye on his forehead. His ascetic's locks are piled above his head in a braided chignon, his deeply meditative face with a protruding lower lip and cleft jaw. The wide shoulders taper down to a narrow waist before flaring out into full hips encased by a finely pleated sampot with one end arranged in fan-shaped folds in the front, secured by a belt tied with a 'fish-tail' sash in front and terminating in a 'butterfly knot' behind, a ubiquitous feature of the Baphuon style.
This exceptional figure exemplifies the highest achievements of the Baphuon School and is arguably amongst the best of its kind. The perfectly-proportioned, well-modeled volumes flow harmoniously forming an organic, breathing entity that exudes sensuality and grace. The expressive face with its haughty countenance emanates wrath and beneficence capturing the essence of Shiva, and bears elements of portraiture synchronous with the Khmer devaraja (King as God) cult.
For another closely-related sculpture of the deity, see W. Felten and M. Lerner, Thai and Cambodian Sculpture, Stuttgart, 1988, cat. 24. Also see ibid, cat. 27, for a larger, more complete example.
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