An Unusual Cambodian Stoneware Conch Shell, Khmer Empire 802–1431.
A Rare Khmer Stoneware Conch-Shell and Bronze Stand, 11th or 12th Century.
Condition: Very poor : reconstructed from fragment, parts reconstructed. The point missing. Part of the bronze stand missing, this is a section to the rim.
Size: Length : 17.5 cm (7 inches)
References:For two ceramic Khmer conch shells of this type see : Khmer Ceramics, 9th - 14th Century (Edited by D. Stock, Catalogue of SEACS exhibition National Museum of Singapore, 1981) plates 36 and 37.
Stock number: 24174
The Khmer Empire made conch shaped articles and indeed mounted real conch shells in metal as well as making vessels out of stoneware and bronze. Ceramic conch shells and their stands, like the present example, can be seen in Buddhist paintings. The conch is highly symbolic in Khmer mythology and beliefs. As well as being an attribute of the Hindu god Vishnu it is associated with water and life-giving force. It is also associated with Buddhism, particularly Tantric rituals.
The Khmer Empire 802–1431, now known as Cambodia, was the powerful Khmer Hindu-Buddhist empire in South East Asia. The empire, which grew out of the former Kingdom of Funan and Chenla, at times ruled over the of mainland South East Asia, parts of modern-day Laos, Thailand, and southern Vietnam.