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
KHMER, BAPHUON STYLE, FIRST HALF 11TH CENTURY
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
Spink and Son, London, 1968