c. 925
Asia: Cambodia
On View

Sculptures of the Hindu god Shiva were common during the Angkor period (9th–15th centuries). Shiva’s popularity was the result of the god’s indisputable cosmic power and association with fertility. To this end, Khmer kings of the Angkor period often claimed to be the reincarnation of Shiva on earth. Images of Shiva are easily identifiable by their iconographical attributes, which include the third, vertical eye, symbolic of his ability to destroy desire, and his mound of matted hair, a marker of his asceticism.

Sculptures of Shiva dating to the Angkor period typically reinterpret the god’s dreadlocked hair as a multi-tiered chignon, reminiscent of royal headdresses.


  • Title: Shiva
  • Date: c. 925
  • Medium: Sandstone
  • Dimensions: overall: 72 -/2 x 32 x 15 -/2 in. (184.2 x 81.3 x 39.4 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1980.19.S
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

  • Lerner, Martin, The Connoisseur, fig. 11 pp. 202-203
  • Pal, Pratapaditya, Asian Art at the Norton Simon Museum, Volume 3: Art from Sri Lanka & Southeast Asia, 2004, no. 140 pp. 103, 107, 174-176, 179, 196, 203
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 779; cat. 903 pp. 338, 350
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