Yakshas Relief

Period: Licchavi period

Date: 8th–9th century

Culture: Nepal, Kathmandu Valley, possibly Deopatan

Medium: Stone

Dimensions: H. 10 5/8 in. (27 cm); W. 20 1/2 in. (52 cm)

Classification: Sculpture

Credit Line: Purchase, Jack Naiman Gift, 1986

Accession Number: 1986.259


Two bearded yakshas crouch in a rocky landscape, marking the threshold between the revealed world and the subterranean underworld, of which they are the gatekeepers and guardians. Yakshas—here with deeply furrowed brows, long braids of hair piled in a topknot, and large globular earrings and bracelets—are typically represented as obese dwarfs and are renowned for their mischievous and malevolent nature if not appeased. This panel likely functioned as a caryatid supporting a pillar of a Licchavi-period religious structure, a shrine, or pavilion (mandapa).