Lot #029
Pre-Hispanic Gold Armlet
Starting Bid : Php 150,000
HP + BP : Php 350,400
Provenance West Gallery
The traditional chronology of Dvaravati is mainly based on the Chinese textual account and stylistic comparison by art historians.
Dvaravati itself was heavily influenced by Indian culture, and played an important role in introducing Buddhism and particularly Buddhist art to the region. Stucco motifs on the religious monuments include garudas, makaras, and Nagas. Nagas are a group of serpent deities in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
Naga is the Sanskrit and Pali word for a deity or class of entity or being, taking the form of a very great snake — specifically the king cobra, found in Indian religions, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. A female naga is a nagi or nagini.
In a Cambodian Legend, the naga were a reptilian race of beings under the King Kaliya who possessed a large empire or kingdom in the Pacific Ocean region until they were chased away by the Garuda and sought refuge in India. It was here Kaliya’s daughter married an Indian Brahmana named Kaundinya, and from their union sprang the Cambodian people. Therefore, Cambodians possess a slogan “Born from the naga”. As a dowry, Kaliya drank up the water that covered the country and exposed the land for his daughter and son-in-law to inhabit and thus, Cambodia was created.
Even-headed naga, such as in this armlet, are said to be “Female, representing Physicality, Mortality, Temporality, and the Earth.”
The Style and technique of this armband as well as historical data suggest a tenth-twelfth century dating for the piece. This was acquired in the late 80s - early 90s when it was still possible to find such pieces in the area.
-Ramon N. Villegas