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Dakini

Accession Number
1983/1.111

Title
Dakini

Artist(s)
Nepali

Object Creation Date
19th century

Medium & Support
stone

Dimensions
8 1/2 x 5 11/16 x 2 3/8 in. (21.5 x 14.3 x 6 cm);8 1/2 x 5 11/16 x 2 3/8 in. (21.5 x 14.3 x 6 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mr. & Mrs. Yale Ginsburg

Subject matter
Tentatively identified as a dakini, a "sky walker": a popular type of goddess in Tibetan Buddhism. Dakinis are shown naked, and as in this image, usually wear a garland of skulls, and carry a skull cup, a flaying knife, and a staff strung with human skulls. The symbolism for such images is complex, but broadly speaking, dakinis represesnt the spontaneous energy of the mind stripped of delusion and defilements.
Dakinis are a popular subject in Himalayan art, and the figure on this small stone corresponds to the standard iconography in all respects but one: normally a dakini is shown taking an aggressive stride, with both feet on the ground, but here, the sculptor has taken advantage of the stone "background" to show her left leg held high, in a monumental stride.

Physical Description
A small stone sculpture in bas-relief, depicting a tantric goddess. The back of the image is carved in a stylized petal shape, while the figure is crudely carved in relief on the front.

Primary Object Classification
Sculpture

Primary Object Type
bas-relief

Additional Object Classification(s)
Sculpture

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Buddhism
Himalayan
Vajrayana
goddesses
skulls (skeleton components)

1 Related Resource

Buddhism
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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