Exhibitions/ Art Object

Vishnu Riding on Garuda

dated to 1004
Gilt copper repoussé
H. 16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm); W. 11 5/8 in. (29.5 cm); D. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Zimmerman Family Collection, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Jeffrey B. Soref and Natalie Soref Gifts, 2012
Accession Number:
This rare, masterful example of Nepalese repoussé depicts Vishnu in flight astride his half-bird, half-human mount, Garuda. He displays a flaming discus and a club in his two raised hands and a conch in his lowered hand. Atop his wings are diminutive figures of his wives— Lakshmi, goddess of fortune, and Bhudevi, the earth goddess—hands raised in reverence. Vishnu was the premier deity of the north Indian Gupta clan, and Garuda was their dynastic symbol. This association with royalty was continued by the Licchavi royal household in Nepal. The inscription refers to Vishnu Garudadhvaja (“One Whose Banner is Garuda,”) the Gupta clan symbol. This relief served as a protective sheath for a stone icon of the same subject and is the oldest known example outside Nepal.
Inscription: Inscribed in Sanskrit: “In the year 1004 . . .in the Jichchodgesu district of the Nepal mandala, the devout Sri Lipa gave (this) covering [kosa] to Garudadhaja”
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Tibetan and Nepalese Art: Recent Acquisitions," September 17, 2013–February 2, 2014.

Related Objects

The Bodhisattva Padmapani Lokeshvara

Artist: Date: 11th century
Accession Number: 1982.220.2
Date: 11th century Medium: Copper alloy with gilding and semiprecious stones Accession: 1982.220.2 On view in:Gallery 252

Shiva Seated with Parvati

Artist: Date: 11th century
Accession Number: 1987.218.1
Date: 11th century Medium: Copper alloy Accession: 1987.218.1 On view in:Gallery 252

Durga as Slayer of the Buffalo Demon Mahishasura

Artist: Date: 14th–15th century
Accession Number: 1986.498
Date: 14th–15th century Medium: Gilt copper alloy, inlaid with semiprecious stones Accession: 1986.498 On view in:Gallery 252


Artist: Date: 10th–11th century
Accession Number: 1986.501.8
Date: 10th–11th century Medium: Gilt-copper alloy Accession: 1986.501.8 On view in:Gallery 252

Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom, in an Awesome Aspect

Artist: Date: 10th century
Accession Number: 1982.220.13
Date: 10th century Medium: Gilt-copper alloy with color and gold paint Accession: 1982.220.13 On view in:Gallery 251