Material: Sandstone
Dimensions: H: 127 cm
Date: First half of VIIth century
Provenance: Koh Krieng, Sambor (Mekong) (Kratie)
Collection: National Museum of Cambodia,
Phnom Penh
B.45 B.71.1 Ka.1621

According to Professor Jean Boisselier, this female statue is dated to the middle of the 7th century in the Sambor Prei Kuk style. One of the powerful kings of Chenla, Isanavarman, erected the city called Isanapura at Sambor Prei Kuk currently in Kompong Thom province. There we can still find many brick temples. Because of the absence of attributes, no one can claim this is either Visnu’s spouse or Siva’s spouse. The ancient Khmer used to pay respect to both the main gods and their spouses. “The morphology is remarkably close to the characteristics of Cambodian women today, so that one is tempted to see in this Devi an inspired personification of Khmer womanhood.”

Traditionally, Khmer women wear a long skirt or ‘sampot’. This sampot has a large knot tucked in front and a long central pleat that falls to the ankles. The lower pleated edge is splayed. The belt is made up of five cords and has a large clasp with very fine ornamentation. The style of goddess’s coiffure (jata) is named by a Cambodian expression ‘bokor’ (hump of a bull). This jata is divided into two parts and decorated at the rear with five stands of falling hair.

The large pelvis, round closely-set breasts, folds of the abdomen and neck, round cheeks, full undulating lips, narrow nose, long earlobes and high jata of tresses make up the exceptional beauty of this female divinity.

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