Gilt copper alloy with color and gold paint
12 5/8 x 6 11/16 in. (32 x 17 cm)
Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick, Dodge and Fletcher Funds, and Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1982 (1982.220.13)
It is unclear what deity this unusual sculpture represents. He stands in the warrior pose and holds in his right hand the hilt of a now-missing sword. His left hand makes the gesture of threatening or warning (tarjanimudra), which is reinforced by a grimace and wrathful eyes. The deity is finely adorned and wears a necklace with four tiger's claws hanging from it. Tiger-claw necklaces are usually seen on depictions of the Buddhist deity Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom, who is very popular in Nepal. Manjushri usually holds a sword, which makes an identification with that deity a possibility. However, this image has a half-moon in his hair, a symbol usually associated with Shiva. The Hindu deity Kumara, the god of war and one of Shiva and Parvati's two sons, also sometimes wears a tiger-claw necklace. However, he carries a spear, not a sword.