Asian Art

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Antefix with Five-headed Serpent, c. 1100

Thailand, Khorat Plateau (?), 1075-1125
Sandstone
42-1/2 in. (108.0 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1983.23.S
© 2012 The Norton Simon Foundation

On view

Symbols of abundance and fertility, multi-headed rearing serpents (nagas) are common decorative motifs found on both Hindu and Buddhist temples in mainland Southeast Asia. The central serpent of this antefix holds a garland of jewels in its mouth as both an offering to the icon housed within and as a reminder of the merit one can achieve through worship at the temple. This type of inward-leaning antefix was introduced to Khmer temples around 1100.

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