While apsaras are ubiquitous to the temples of Angkor, benign dvarapalas can often be found flanking doorways or protruding from corner brackets. Dvarapalas became integral to temple sculpture in India as early as the 5th century and appear in Cambodia in the earliest of the Angkor Empire's temples, the Roulos group, constructed around the turn of the 10th century. The Shaivite temples at Koh Ker are similar to these in their iconographical programs and architectural structures.
Koh Ker, which lies 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Angkor, was the capital of the Khmer Empire from 928-944. Koh Ker's sculptural style is thus distinct from those developed in Angkor's immediate vicinity. The stone sculpture, often monumental in size, is imbued with a heightened sense of movement and a suppleness of form.
The present example exhibits the "dynamic equilibrium" that, for Boisselier, characterizes the sculpture of Koh Ker; see J. Boisselier, Asie du Sud-Est, 1966, p. 248, and compare with a pair of kneeling male figures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in M. Lerner and S. Kossak, 'The Arts of South and Southeast Asia', The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Spring 1994, ill. p. 14.