Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Khmer Empire (Angkor culture), ca. 12th to 13th century CE. A pair of cast bronze palanquin hooks, each with a near-identical lotus flower design - they were probably cast from the same mold. The lotus flower opens outward atop a large cylindrical socket. On the lower part of the socket, extending from one side and curving upward to form a sturdy hook, is a closed lotus flower bud. Four bodhisattvas with ornate headdresses adorn the lower sides of the socket at the same level as the hook. The inside area of each socket has an iron patina and signs of wear, a reminder of the purpose of these beautiful objects. Size of one (they are almost identical): 3.75" W x 6" H (9.5 cm x 15.2 cm); 6.95" H (17.7 cm) on included custom stand.
Palanquin hooks were an essential part of the wooden and wicker palanquins that were the primary mode of transport for royal and elite people in Khmer society. Tese decorative hooks were used to suspend the palanquin from the transverse pole used to carry it. The technical skill and artistry of Khmer bronze casters is evident in these examples; note their ornate decoration despite their heavy use.
A similar pair sold at Christie's, New York, on March 20, 2012 (Lot 181) for $6250. A less ornate pair that provides a clear photo of how they were used alongside a ring is at the British Museum (1946,1015.2).
Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-private Rhode Island collection, 2000s
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All are intact and in great condition with matte green patina, well preserved motifs, and deposits on the interiors of their sockets that suggest use.