Historical period(s)
Pala-Sena dynasty, ca. 1150
H x W x D: 53 x 38 x 28 cm (20 7/8 x 14 15/16 x 11 in)
Bangladesh, India
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Sculpture, Stone


Bangladesh, eagle, Garuda, halo, India, lotus, Pala-Sena dynasty (750 - 1100)

Reportedly between 1968 and 1971 to 1990
David R. Nalin purchased in East Pakistan (modern-day Bangladesh) [1]

From 1990
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from David R. Nalin [2]


[1] David R. Nalin is an American physiologist who worked at the Cholera Research Hospital in Dhaka when it was part of Pakistan from 1967 until the Liberation War of 1971, and then again in 1972 after the creation of Bangladesh. Nalin collected sculptures while living abroad and later employed Peter Marks Works of Art to manage his collection. In 1989, Peter Marks (d. 2010), of Peter Marks Works of Art, provided the Freer Gallery of Art with a "summary of acquisition, ownership, and history" relating to a sculpture now in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (NGA89.1365), copy in object file. In the document, Marks instructed that the contents of the document should "apply to any object in the [Nalin] collection." The summary reports that in 1969, Nalin shipped his collection from Dhaka to Chittagong then onto Karachi and finally onto New York. Nalin "assumed[d] that the customs agent[s] handled all clearances and declarations according to the laws and agreements in effect at the time."

[2] Peter Marks Works of Art, acted as an agent for David R. Nalin in the sale of the sculpture. See Invoice from Peter Marks Works of Art, September 18, 1990, original in accession file. The Freer Gallery of Art issued payment on September 28, 1990.

Research completed November 15, 2022.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Dr. David R. Nalin
Peter Marks Works of Art, Inc. active 1960-2002


Garuda, the divine eagle, is the god Vishnu's vehicle. Depicted here in human form, Garuda's avian qualities are reflected in his wings and beaklike nose, the tip of which is broken off.  Garuda kneels on one knee on a double lotus pedestal, and his palms are joined in a gesture of adoration of his master.  He is richly adorned, as befits one of his stature, and wears a crown that holds in place a halo-like double row of ringlets.  This double-sided sculpture originally surmounted a freestanding pillar in front of a shrine dedicated to Vishnu.

Published References
  • Jane Anne Casey. Medieval Sculpture from Eastern India: Selections From the Nalin Collection. Livingston, New Jersey. cat. 59, p. 89.
  • Susan L. Huntington, John C. Huntington. Leaves from the Bodhi Tree: The Art of Pala India (8th-12th centuries) and Its International Legacy. Exh. cat. Seattle, London, and Dayton, Ohio. pp. 147-8, fig. 22.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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