VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Feminine deity
MG 18905
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This youthful-looking deity, full of charm and sensuality, belongs to a small group of Hindu feminine images, some of whom represent Durga, Shiva’s wife and “Energy”. Wearing cylindrical mitre-like head-dresses, which perhaps allude to the fraternal ties uniting this goddess to Vishnu, the feminine figures have four arms and can often be recognised by the presence of a buffalo on the plinth. This symbolises the demon Mahisha reduced to powerlessness by Durga, as can be seen on the most famous image of this kind, which comes from Tuol Komnap and is conserved in the National Museum of Phnom-Penh. In many respects the Guimet Museum’s feminine deity is closer to that work, even though her identity cannot be determined with certainty. This deity is distinguishable from the Durga figures by her high, curled chignon hairstyle, the fact that she is endowed with two arms, and the absence of the demon Mahisha on the plinth. The chubby face with the fleshy lips, the full cheeks, the eyebrows arched high towards the temples and, in particular, the graceful, curving bust of that feminine deity are in fact comparable to the Durga and Tuol Komnap. The costume, simply a piece of material knotted on the abdomen, presents the same process of playing on the embossment for the pocket and the incisions for the pleats. These characteristics allow this work to be attributed to the end of the 7th century or early years of the 8th century.

History of the Object
Worshipped in a Preangkorean sanctuary in Popel from 7th or 8th century, the deity was discovered, abandoned in the ruined site, in the last quarter of the 19th century.

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Stoneware 
Measurements
Height 106 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Cambodia; Svay Rieng Province; Popel 
Geography
Cambodia 
Time period
AD 7th century ~ AD 8th century 
Creation date
7th - 8th Century 
Function
Object of worship in a Brahmanic sanctuary 
Acquisition
Donated by Etienne Aymonier to the Trocadero Indo-Chinese Museum, 1890. Entered the Guimet Museum in 1927. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Owned by the French State, Paris, Guimet Museum. 
Museum
Musée National des arts asiatiques Guimet 
Credit line
 

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