Naga attendant holding a fly whisk

India, probably Goli, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh

Not on view

The semidivine celebrant here is an anthropomorphic depiction of a serpent deity (naga), identifiable by the cobra hoods rising above his head. He is attired in a princely manner, wearing enormous conical earplugs (compare to those displayed nearby). The assimilation of nagas into Buddhism is a recurring theme in early religious literature. Associated with water and its riches, nagas represent one of the most powerful of the nature spirits that controlled the spiritual landscape of pre-Buddhist India. It was thus essential for monks to subjugate the power of the nagas; to this end Buddhist rituals evolved to influence the coming of the rains.

Naga attendant holding a fly whisk, Limestone, India, probably Goli, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.