Lower part of a Nagaraja (Serpent King) image

Historical period(s)
Kushan dynasty, late 1st century CE
Mottled red sandstone
H x W (overall): 71 x 44.5 cm (27 15/16 x 17 1/2 in)
India, Mathura, U.P.
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Sculpture, Stone

Figure: deity

India, king, Kushan dynasty (1st century BCE - 299 CE), naga, snake
Provenance research underway.

Serpent-kings, who were believed to dwell within splendid kingdoms below lakes and rivers, were absorbed into the Hindu and Buddhist religions as semidivine protectors and devotees. This nagaraja probably stood on a low base outside the gates of a Buddhist stupa (reliquary mound) or monastery. Its heavy coils emphasize the robust monumentality typical of sculpture from Mathura, the southern Kushan stronghold in the Gangetic plains.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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