Sunday, 5 August 2012

Mystery Over More Koh Ker (?) Fragments

On attempting to follow up recent news stories about the recent New York antiquities bust, I stumbled across some unrelated material in which reference is made to a Cambodian site which has also been in the news, and which seems not to have been mentioned in current discussions of  Koh Ker sculptures in foreign collections. This is in an online version of an article ('Gold of the Gods' by Louise Nicholson,  21st October 2008) published by Apollo Magazine:
a single-piece sand- stone sculpture of a serenely smiling cross-legged Shiva being worshipped by the small, dumpy Skanda  [...] It was probably made in the second quarter of the 10th century for Jayavarman IV’s new capital at Lingapura, today’s Koh Ker, and is possibly a symbol of the king and his son. 
The collector says he had been shown "a picture of it in pieces in the mid-Eighties", the breaks were clean. Note that the article stops short of saying this item actually was taken from the ruins of Koh Ker, but if there are two statues out there from this damaged and formerly neglected site (the Norton Simon and "Sotheby's" one discussed earlier on this blog) it is possible there are others, some of them mentioned in published sources like this one.  If they surfaced on the market in the mid-eighties, they are perhaps from a different source than the other two which were reportedly already in London a decade earlier. Or is the collector's attribution of the sculpture to this site speculation based merely on style?

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