Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Yakshas Relief

Licchavi period
8th–9th century
Nepal, Kathmandu Valley, possibly Deopatan
H. 10 5/8 in. (27 cm); W. 20 1/2 in. (52 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Jack Naiman Gift, 1986
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 252
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).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of the Himalayas," December 15, 2010–December 4, 2011.

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