Description Crowned by a five-headed cobra whose coiled body weaves itself into a throne, this bejeweled figure is a "nagaraja," or divine serpent-king. As inhabitants of watery places and guardians of the earth’s hidden treasures, serpent deities are associated with fecundity and wealth. This nagaraja holds a gem in one hand and a plate of offerings in the other. Once inlaid with semiprecious stones, the sculpture may have functioned in a Hindu or Buddhist context, for nagas are sacred across religious traditions.
- 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 Oriental Antiquities, London [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; John and Berthe Ford, Baltimore, November 19, 1969, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 2021, by gift.
Credit Gift of John and Berthe Ford, 2021
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