Description This figure represents a yogi wearing his yogic band over his left shoulder. Like a divinity he sits on a lotus in the heroic "virasana" posture. In his lap he holds a skull cup revealing his role as a tantric teacher. This posture and iconography is common to Pala sculpture of the 11th and 12th centuries. It is likely that this figure represents a mahasiddha, a tantric teacher revered for having achieved "siddhi," or perfections. A group of eighty-four mahasiddhas was revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. Two of them, Matsyendranatha and Gorakhnatha became the foci of cults in Nepal. This figure was likely part of a 12th-century altar devoted to one of these mahasiddhas. It evidently was revered for quite some time as the rubbing associated with devotional practice has rendered its surface features quite muted.
- Desire and Devotion: Art from India, Nepal, and Tibet in the John and Berthe Ford Collection. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong. 2001-2003.
Provenance Gantan Shaka, Kathmandu, Nepal; John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, Winter 1974, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2007, by gift.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2007
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