Iconic and strongly proportioned, this important figure of Vishnu is imbued with an authority mirroring the great temple-mountain of Bakong, the largest and most significant temple in the Roluos Group, constructed during the reign of Indravarman I (877-889) at Hariharalya, the Angkor Empire's first capital. Sculpture of the Bakong is innovative as it is the first to be carved completely in the round, without the surrounding arch previously used for reinforcement. Few examples survive with the headdress and drapery in such excellent condition. For a closely related example, see H. Jessup and T. Zphir, eds. Sculpture of Angkor and Ancient Cambodia: Millennium of Glory, 1997, p. 200, cat. no. 34.
As the Khmer Empire consolidated its power, multiple centers of artistic production flourished simultaneously, each manifesting its own idiom within the broader Khmer aesthetic. The regional variants are evident in the arrangement of the sampot, treatment of the stone's surface, and proportions of the body; compare this figure with the Bakheng torso in the previous lot.