Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Head of Vishnu

Vishnu, one of the most powerful Hindu gods, is known as the sustainer. In style and iconography this sculpture owes a debt to India, whose merchants, while traveling southern trade routes, introduced not only the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism but also Indian sculptural traditions to Cambodia and other countries in Southeast Asia. Most likely a fragment of a standing figure that had once been attached to a wall or other architectural structure, the sculpture embodies great presence despite its diminutive size. The sculptor carved subtle transitions, such as from the raised cheekbone to the slightly depressed temple, to create elegant features and a serene expression.

Cambodian, Pre-Ankor
Head of Vishnu
7th–8th century
Green sandstone
H. 4 in. (10.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 84.38