Indonesia, possibly Sumatra
H. 18 x W. 7 x D. 6 in. (45.7 x 17.8 x 15.2 cm)
Asia Society, New York: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection, 1979.83
As three of the four objects once held by this intriguing sculpture are missing, it is not known whether the image depicts a Hindu deity or a Buddhist deity. Although the wheel held in his upper right hand suggests an identification with the Hindu god Vishnu, similar wheel-shaped objects are also held by Buddhist attendant figures. The depiction of the locks of hair as a series of parallel ribbonlike lines and the large cylindrical bump at the top of the head suggest that this sculpture may have been made on the island of Sumatra. The thickness and rigidity of the legs, the lack of volume in the torso, the simplicity of the detailing, and the figure's strong features, however, differentiate this piece from other Sumatran examples. It is possible that this sculpture was produced in an area of the Indonesian archipelago that is less well known than either Sumatra or Java or it might be both provincial and later in date.