Door Guardian (Dvarapala)

Date: ca. 4th century

Culture: Pakistan (ancient region of Gandhara)

Medium: Stucco

Dimensions: H. 18 in. (45.7 cm); W. 10 3/4 in. (27.3 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of Asian Art Gifts, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.132


Similar armored guardian figures were found flanking a doorway of a monastery at the Gandharan site of Thareli; clearly, this example also had significance as a protective deity. It is interesting that the monks chose to integrate such non-Buddhist deities into the embellishment of their monastic residences. The appearance of such protectors probably can be linked to the growing importance of the war god Skanda in the late Gandharan tradition.