The permanent collection

South east Asia

Southeast Asia is a large geographic area between India and China. It includes Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam as well as Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. These countries have been influenced by Indian and Chinese civilizations while developing an original culture.

Buffalo sarcophagus

This zoomorphic or erong sarcophagus, from the art of the Toraja Sa'dan, an important ethnic group on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, represents a water buffalo, the pet and sacrificial animal par excellence. This wooden ossuary, complete and endowed with a real pair of buffalo horns, is entirely engraved. The decor, inherited from the Dong Son civilization of Vietnam, consists of patterns in the shape of a buffalo head (wealth), broken keys (happiness for the descendants), solar circles (nobility and grandeur), braided patterns (peace and happiness), and leaves from the banyan tree (fertility).

Water buffalo shape ossuary, Indonesia, Sulawesi, Toroja Sa’dan ethnic group, 19th century. Engraved teak wood, buffalo horns.© Image Art

Male deity statue

Male deity statue, Vishnu.

This sandstone statue comes from Cambodia. It represents a divinity, as indicated by the diadem, an accessory reserved for the gods and goddesses. It probably represents the Hindu god Vishnu. This work was produced at the beginning of the 12th century, during the reign of Suryavarman II. Eyes highlighted by an incision extending towards the temples, the cylindrical bun or even the costume are all characteristics of this "Angkor Wat style".

His initial appearance was very different from today: painted in bright colors, dressed in brocades, the god was also adorned with jewelry.

Cambodia, 12th century. Sandstone.© Image Art

Pair of mythological lions

Sitting on their hindquarters, face turned to the sky and mouth ajar, these two lions, dating from the beginning of the 15th century are beneficial entities symbolizing the Buddha and the power of his teaching.

Originally from the ancient kingdom of Annam in northern Vietnam, their purpose was to surround an incense burner in an important Buddhist temple. For this type of object, the use of bronze, an expensive material difficult to shape, is rare. This indicates that the person who commissioned the work was very wealthy, and probably part of the imperial court.

- Real size picture, .JPG 1.09Mo (Modal window)Annam period (Vietnam), 15th century. Bronze.© Image Art