Celestial Nymph
Asia: Cambodia; Asia: Thailand
On View

Celestial nymphs (apsaras) are commonly found along the bottom exterior and interior walls of Khmer-period temples in both Cambodia and Thailand. The function of these female figures was to entertain the gods, who were believed to reside in temples while on earth. The archway that frames this celestial nymph represents a multi-headed serpent (naga), similar to the sculpture, Antefix with Five-headed Serpent.


  • Title: Celestial Nymph
  • Date: c.1100
  • Medium: Sandstone
  • Dimensions: 37 x 21 x 5 in. (94.0 x 53.3 x 12.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1975.15.3.S
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 3: Art from Sri Lanka & Southeast Asia, 2004, no. 153 pp. 108, 195
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 1275 p. 389

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