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The Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati

Apart from their damaged limbs, these 1,000-year-old Cambodian sculptures survive in excellent condition, and the fact that they have remained together makes them rare. These statues would have been in the inner sanctuary of a Hindu temple, a huge stone complex built up like a step pyramid, with the sanctuary at the top. Images of Shiva acting out his power in the world might be found on the outside of an ancient Cambodian temple, but inside the temple the deity would be shown standing upright and still, conveying a sense of resolute calm to all who gazed upon him. Learn more about the deities Shiva and Parvati.

The third eye in the middle of the forehead of the male figure identifies him as the Hindu deity Shiva. His wife is Parvati. Both these deities can be represented in supernatural forms with multiple arms, and both have violent and frightening forms as well. Here, however, they are shown in the guise of a graceful young man and woman. Before and after the period of these sculptures, Angkorian art usually emphasized the power and remoteness of the gods. In the late 900s, however, and continuing for several generations, gentleness and sensitivity were sometimes emphasized. Notice here the carefully calculated contrast of minutely textured clothing and jewelry with the expanses of smooth, soft skin. The sculptor has also taken advantage of the different color tonalities of the two pieces of stone. Scientific study has shown that they came from different parts of a single quarry.
Created by Asian Art Museum.

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Video transcript

these figures are the Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati curator forest Magill Shiva has very powerful both creative and destructive capabilities as a deity so he's associated with fertility but also with the power of destruction and sometimes that destruction has to come about in order for a new rebirth or a new flourishing to take place Parvati is his wife and she was also worshipped in her own right as a separate deity despite their damaged limbs these 1000 year old sculptures are masterworks because they survived as a pair they are examples of the incredible sculpture created in Cambodia at that time there's the wonderful contrast of they're very smooth polished skin and then the very intensely detailed jewellery many Cambodian stone sculptures of this period would have had real gold jewellery added to it I like to urge people to look at their bracelets look at their big necklaces look at these bands that go around the middle of their torsos with this incredibly detailed reproduction in stone of what would probably have been gold jewelry it was typical of this period for artists to contrast large smooth surfaces with highly textured areas in addition to the jewelry look at the pleats carved into their clothing these particular figures also reflect a change from the formal way deities had been portrayed emphasizing their might and godly distance from mortals instead here they appear more young attractive kind and understanding the comparison that comes to my mind is with the ancient Greek gods like Apollo or Aphrodite whose physical beauty and approachability is part of what attracts us to them you