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Enthroned planetary deity

Enthroned planetary deity

850-875

Sandstone

Overall: 86.5 x 37.5 cm (34 1/16 x 14 3/4 in.)

Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1935.147

Description

Enthroned Planetary Deity is a powerful presence about three feet tall, made of a light-colored sandstone. He is a personification of one of the nine planets that protected a Buddhist temple; the short dagger in his left hand along with the mustache and stylized furrowed brow refer to his role as a fierce protector. His posture is that of royal ease, and his crown, massive earrings, and throne also mark him as a king of the heavens. The mark on his forehead refers to his association with enlightened beings. The meaning of a planetary deity as a guardian pertains to the consecration of the temple at a time when the planets were correctly aligned with the stars, so that the site and devotees will be protected from misfortune. The “face of glory” (kirtimukha) on the carved relief panel in front of his pedestal is an image pertaining to the creative energy (shakti) that is emitted from the temple itself, and it spits jewels and vegetal motifs that connote abundance and prosperity that will accrue to the worshippers who come to the temple.

This sculpture is one of the rare surviving examples of a sculpture from the Cham culture of central and southern Vietnam. It is documented to have come from the Dong Duong monastery, dedicated to Mahayana Buddhism.

See also
Collection: 
Southeast Asian
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Sandstone

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