Exhibitions/ Art Object

Vishnu Riding on Garuda

dated 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:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 252
This rare early example of Nepalese repoussé depicts the god Vishnu in flight astride his half-bird, half-human mount, Garuda. He displays a flaming discus, a club, and a conch. Atop his wings are diminutive figures of his wives. Vishnu was the premier deity of the North Indian Gupta clan, and Garuda their dynastic symbol—a royal association that continued with the Licchavi kingdom in Nepal. The inscription here refers to Vishnu Garudadhvaja (One Whose Banner is Garuda), the Gupta symbol. This relief, the oldest known example outside Nepal, served as a protective sheath for a stone icon of the same subject.
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.

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