Monday, February 27, 2012


The teacher Agastya
Object ID: AK-MAK-238

Rijksmuseum, The Masterpieces and Infocentre
(The New Rijksmuseum)
Jan Luijkenstraat 1, 1071 CJ Amsterdam

Type: Sculpture
Materials: Andesite
Measurements: 36 cm, 100 cm, 50 cm
Creator name: Anonymous
Where it was made: Indonesia; Central Java; the Kedu Plain
Time period: 09th Century
Function: Worship

Long-term loan from the Association of Friends of Asian Art (VVAK), purchased from J.G. Huyser, a collector from The Hague, in 1936

Copyright Acknowledgements:
Owner Vereniging van Vrienden der Aziatische Kunst Museum Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Credit line

Why this is a masterpiece:
Assuming an upright pose and exuding calm and authority, this statue of Agastya is not daunting, as befits a teacher. Agastya is an old man, as can be seen by his beard and his thickset figure.

Details of this kind ensure that this delicately worked statue clearly conveys the hallmarks of the deity it represents to the worshipper. It is a convincing example of 9th-century Central Javanese sculpture.

History of the Object:
Statues of Agastya, the divine teacher, always stood in the southern alcove of temples dedicated to Shiva, who was the most important god during Indonesia’s Hindu-Buddhist period (8th-16th century). Temples to Shiva, and statues of Agasya, were found in abundance at the time.

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