Posted on: 20 March 2013

Linga with One Face of Shiva (Ekamukhalinga)
Mon-Dvaravati period, 7th–early 8th century
Thailand (Phetchabun Province, Si Thep)
H. 55 1/8 in. (140 cm)

Kings established monumental lingas throughout Thailand in the seventh and eighth centuries. Clearly Shaivism was important to these rulers, though the construction of such moments probably also helped them to legitimize their claims to power over newly conquered territories.

Monumental lingas of the seventh and eighth centuries are found throughout Thailand. Kings would establish lingas as a religious act and as a means of legitimizing their claims to power over newly conquered territories. Ideas of perfect geometry help relate the octagonal base to the cardinal and intermediate directions, while the circular pillar is implicitly the cosmic axis. Here, the face of Shiva provides a focus for veneration; he is recognizable by the crescent in his hair and by his vertical third eye.

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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