Guardian LionArtist(s)KhmerArtist NationalityKhmer (general)Object Creation Date12th centuryMedium & SupportsandstoneDimensions
32 1/16 in. x 13 3/4 in. x 17 1/2 in. ( 81.5 cm x 35 cm x 44.5 cm )Credit LineMuseum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection FundLabel copy
March 28, 2009
The lion is not native to South or Southeast Asia but rather a motif borrowed from ancient Persia, where it was a symbol of royal power. In the vast temple complexes built by the Khmer Empire in Cambodia, as well as in parts of Thailand and Laos in the ninth through thirteenth centuries, the central shrine was imagined as the throne of the deity (whether Buddhist or Hindu), and a pair of lions were placed flanking the stairway leading to that shrine. This lion dates to the twelfth century, when the Khmer capital city of Angkor was at the height of its political power and artistic brilliance. Although centuries of wind and rain have worn away the sandstone’s surface, the lion’s patterned mane and facial expression still convey the sculptor’s skill.
(Label for UMMA South and Southeast Asia Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypemodelRights
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