Lingam with the head of Shiva

The lingam has a simple form with square base, octagonal mid-section and cylindrical top representing a phallus, the immaterial form of the supreme deity Shiva. Lingams with faces, usually only one, seem to have been popular only during the Pre-Angkor period. In the following Angkor period the more abstract form without a face was preferred. The face on this lingam is diminutive and carved in shallow relief. The ascetic head is meant to be a bust with the square shoulders clearly delineated. The ears are elongated and adorned with earrings. The high coiffure is rising to a pronounced conical ridge that recedes into the lingam. The lingam was venerated by the Shaivite Khmers during the entire Angkor period. Each lingam would have originally sat in a circular base with a water spout at one end to drain off ritual liquids. The focus of worship in a Khmer Shiva temple was the lingam. The shivalingam is the phallic emblem of the God. In the Khmer period great political and spiritual significance was attached to the lingam.

Country of origin:



Khmer, Pre-Angkor period, circa 7-8th Century


H. 44 cm


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