Revealing Krishna

USD $28.95



ISBN: 978-1-911282-78-5

192 Pages

216 x 216 mm (8 ½ x 8 ½ in)

144 colour illustrations

In association with the Cleveland Museum of Art

October 2021


Focuses on a remarkable, over life-size sculpture of Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, in one of the earliest sculptural representations known from Cambodia.

Fifth volume in the Cleveland Masterworks Series

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Centred on the early Cambodian masterpiece Krishna Lifting Mount Govardhan in the Cleveland Museum of Art, seven essays present new research and discoveries regarding its history, material, and context. Introducing the Cleveland Krishna as one of eight monumental sculptures of Hindu deities from the sacred mountain of Phnom Da, the museum’s curator presents evidence for its establishment in a cave sanctuary and recounts its fascinating journey from there to Cleveland in multiple pieces—including a decades-long detour of being buried in a garden in Belgium. Conservators and scientists elucidate the long-fraught process of identifying the sculptural fragments that belong to the Cleveland Krishna and explain the new reconstructions unveiled in the 2021 exhibition Revealing Krishna: Journey to Cambodia’s Sacred Mountain.

An international team of specialists in the history of art, archaeology, and anthropology place the Cleveland Krishna amid the material traces of a sophisticated population based in the Mekong River delta at the ancient metropolis known as Angkor Borei. They reveal the long-lasting influence and prestige of the site, well into the Angkorian period, more than 600 years after the creation of the Cleveland Krishna and the gods of Phnom Da.

Author biographies

Co-Editors and Contributors
Sonya Rhie Mace, George P. Bickford Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA)
Bertrand Porte, Sculpture Conservator, École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO) representative in Phnom Penh

Contributing Authors
ANG Choulean, Professor of Historical Anthropology, Faculty of Archaeology, Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh
Pierre Baptiste, Curator of Southeast Asian Art, Musée national des arts asiatiques–Guimet, Paris
CHEA Socheat, Head of Conservation and Restoration, National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh (NMC)
Beth Edelstein, Objects Conservator, CMA Christian Fischer, UCLA/Getty Conservation Interdepartmental
Program, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, Los Angeles
Colleen Snyder, Associate Objects Conservator, CMA Amaris Sturm, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects
Conservation, CMA
Thierry Zéphir, Ingénieur d’études, Musée national des arts asiatiques–Guimet, Paris

Table of Contents

  • Director’s Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Plates
  • Maps
  • The Cleveland Krishna: Image, Site, and Provenance by Sonya Rhie Mace
  • A Conservation History of the Krishna at the Cleveland Museum of Art by Beth Edelstein, Colleen Snyder, Amaris Sturm
  • Stone Material Culture at Phnom Da: New Insights from Recent Scientific Investigations by Christian Fischer
  • The Sculptor of Phnom Da: Birth and Conservation of a Statuary by Bertrand Porte and CHEA Socheat
  • Expressing Royal Magnificence: The City of Angkor Borei and the Sacred Site of Phnom Da by Pierre Baptiste
  • Note on Representations of Krishna in the Angkorian Period by Thierry Zéphir
  • Nostalgia or Appropriation of the South by ANG Choulean
  • Appendix: Eight Gods of Phnom Da: Table of Discoveries and Transfers
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art Board of Trustees