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Standing Nagaraja (Serpent King)

Period:
Gupta period
Date:
ca. mid- 5th century
Culture:
India (Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh)
Medium:
Red sandstone
Dimensions:
H. 59 in. (149.9 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Jeffrey B. Soref, in honor of Anthony Gardner, 1991
Accession Number:
1991.83.1
  • Description

    Nagas (serpent deities) are associated with water and agricultural abundance, but at the same time they are venomous and bring floods and destruction. Serpent worship goes back to remote antiquity and numerous representations of nagarajas (serpent kings) are known from as early as the second century B.C. Thus it is not surprising that with the emergence of the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religious traditions we see the integration of naga deities. Although the names of many nagarajas are preserved in Indian literature, specific identification is difficult unless the sculpture is inscribed.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
38199

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