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    Sale 2117

    The Ideal Image Eight Masterpieces Of Indian And Southeast Asian Art

    21 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 508

    A highly important and large sandstone figure of Uma


    Price Realised  


    A highly important and large sandstone figure of Uma
    Khmer, Baphuon Style, first half 11th century
    Superbly carved in the round with her right hand raised, wearing a sarong elegantly carved with parallel pleats and a fishtail sash, the face finely polished and surmounted by the braided hair and curled topknot, the torso finely polished
    46¾ in. (118.7 cm.) high

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    This superb sculpture represents a masterpiece of Khmer art, in total command of form and line, the tactile quality of its highly polished torso suggestive of youthful skin, sensitively offset against the refined treatment of the braided hair and pleated sanghati.
    Drawing on the developments of the previous half-century, the art of the Baphuon introduced a number of new elements and refinements. This is arguably the high-point in depiction of the female form in all of Khmer art. Stone sculptures were generally of smaller size and the present example is a large and highly finished example of its type indicating an important commission. The fact that it retains one of its arms is an exceptionally rare feature. Further unusual features are the spiral topknot as opposed to the typically braided dome and the diagonal tuck of the robe at the back, realistically rendering the wrapping and tying of a sarong.


    Spink and Son, London, 1968

    Pre-Lot Text

    The Baphuon Uma
    Uma (Parvati) is the consort of Shiva. In classical Hindu mythology, the "raison d'etre" of Parvati is to lure Shiva into marriage and thus into a wider circle of worldly affairs. Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolise at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity.

    It is said that she is the source of all power in this universe and that because of her, Lord Shiva gets all his powers.

    Sensuality and grace characterize the style of the Baphuon, named after the most important monument at that time in Cambodia, which lasts for most of the 11th century. It arguably marks the highpoint in the rendition of the female form in all of Khmer art. She is the prime of youth and her face bears a gentle smile, the robe is executed with finely pleated cloth forming a 'fishtail' sash down the center. Befitting her role, she is beautiful above all.

    Property from the Alice M. Kaplan Collection


    L. Bantel, The Alice M. Kaplan Collection, 1981, cat. no. 7, p. 26f.