Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Top of a Bell in the Form of a Demon King or Guardian

Eastern Javanese period
ca. second half of the 12th–early 13th century
Indonesia (Java)
H. 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Samuel Eilenberg Collection, Gift of Samuel Eilenberg, 1987
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 247
This finial from a hanging bell takes the form of an unusually lively and finely modeled rakshasa—a demon king or guardian. He is depicted as a short, potbellied grimacing creature with fangs and large bulbous eyes and a serpent emerging from each armpit. A curved broad chopper is held in his right hand, and his left is placed behind the neck of a hapless victim with bound hands who is seated in front of him. The hair is pulled back and arranged in a loop to allow for the attachment of a suspension chain.

Ferocious creatures of this sort were popular participants in Javanese mythology and literature and appear often in the art of the Eastern Javanese period. Their association with bells is not uncommon.
Samuel Eilenberg , New York (until 1987; donated to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Lotus Transcendent: Indian and Southeast Asian Art from the Samuel Eilenberg Collection," October 2, 1991–June 28, 1992.

Related Objects

Enthroned Buddha Attended by the Bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani

Artist: Date: second half of the 10th century
Accession Number: 2004.259
Date: second half of the 10th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 2004.259 On view in:Gallery 247

Bell Handle with Seated Ganesha

Artist: Date: ca. 13th century
Accession Number: 1987.142.244
Date: ca. 13th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1987.142.244 On view in:Gallery 247

Top of a Bell in the Form of a Kneeling Demon

Artist: Date: 14th century
Accession Number: 1982.460.2
Date: 14th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1982.460.2 On view in:Gallery 247

Hanging Lamp in the Form of a Kinnari

Artist: Date: ca. second half of the 9th–early 10th century
Accession Number: 1987.142.24
Date: ca. second half of the 9th–early 10th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1987.142.24 On view in:Gallery 247

Pellet Bell in the Form of a Human Head

Artist: Date: ca. 13th–14th century
Accession Number: 1987.142.246
Date: ca. 13th–14th century Medium: Bronze Accession: 1987.142.246 On view in:Gallery 247