Overall: 61 x 33 cm (24 x 13 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1938.304
This carving of an apsaras, a female inhabitant of the heavens, is from Angkor Thom, the capital of the Khmer empire under its most illustrious king, Jayavarman VII (reigned 1181-1218). Angkor is derived from the Sanskrit word for "city," and thom means "great" in Khmer. This sculpture may have been one of an array of celestial maidens carved around the base of a terrace on which royal cremations and funerals were held. They visually welcome the deceased into heaven. On the terrace was a stone sculpture of the Indic god of death, dubbed the Leper King by a French explorer in the 19th century because of the way the lichen looked on the surface of the stone.
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