Nepal, a rare “nagaraja”

11th century, Nepal, Nagaraja, bronze, at the Walters Art Museum (USA).

11th century, Nepal, nagaraja, bronze, at the Walters Art Museum (USA).

This rare and beautiful sculpture depicts a handsome nagaraja or ‘king of the nagas’, seated on a cushion made of entwined snakes, holding a jewel in his right hand and a dish filled with jewels in the other. He wears a crown made of tall panels with a floral design, topped with five snake heads, each with a round object on them –  likely to be the nagamani or  ‘divine pearl of wisdom’. The one-piece flaming mandorla behind him has a small bar in the middle to prevent breakage.

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