Garuda in anjalimudra

From Orissa, eastern India, 13th century AD

The hawk mount of Vishnu

Many Hindu deities have a vehicle or vahana on which they ride: Shiva rides on the bull Nandi, Devi rides on a lion or tiger and Ganesha rides on a rat. The mount of Vishnu is the hawk Garuda. Images of Garuda are usually in the form of a man with a hooked beak instead of a nose and sometimes wings, such as in this image.

Garuda was originally a solar deity and Vishnu's devoted servant. This image depicts him kneeling with the palms of his hands pressed together in adoration (anjalimudra). Such an image would have been placed in the outer courtyard of a temple, facing towards the main shrine with its image of Vishnu.

Garuda is the enemy of snakes or nagas. Small snakes appear wrapped around this sculpture's wrists, upper arms and shins, and in his earrings and hair.

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More information

Bibliography

T. R. Blurton, Hindu art (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Height: 6.350 cm

Museum number

Asia OA 1872.7-1.67

RRI850

Bridge Collection

Location

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