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Male Figure (Aiyanar?)

First half of 7th century

Thailand, reportedly from Lop Buri Province, Si Thep


H. 26 7/8 x W. 13 1/2 x D. 12 7/8 in. (68.3 x 12 7/8 x 32.7 cm)

Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.73

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This seated figure may represent Aiyanar, a disciple of the Hindu god Shiva, who was worshiped mainly in Sri Lanka and south India. Aiyanar, whose Tamil name means "he who commands," protects forest travelers and guards village reservoirs. Here he is depicted with a meditation strap wrapped in a figure-eight around his waist and leg to help maintain his yogic posture. His gaze of absorption and calm adds to the meditative quality of this image. A portion of the left hip and the right leg, from mid-thigh to ankle, are modern restorations.