Dvarapala (temple guardian; pair with 1980/2.291)Artist(s)IndianArtist NationalityIndian (South Asian)Object Creation Date15th centuryMedium & SupportwoodDimensions
51 9/16 in x 20 7/8 in x 12 3/16 in (131 cm x 53 cm x 31 cm);51 9/16 in x 20 7/8 in x 12 3/16 in (131 cm x 53 cm x 31 cm)Credit LineGift of Dr. and Mrs. Leo S. Figiel and Dr. and Mrs. Steven J. FigielLabel copy
March 28, 2009
Sculpted figures envelop the walls of the Hindu temple, representing a singular cosmological reality. This animated guardian figure was displayed alongside gods, celestial musicians, semi-divine loving couples, and other protective divinities that support the main deity within the temple’s sanctum. This guardian figure and its mate (exhibited to the right) stood at either side of the temple entrance, while other dvarapala (protectors of the directions) occupied buttresses on the temple’s corners, defending it against the chaos outside.
(Label for UMMA South and Southeast Asia Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)Subject matter
Dvarapala means the guardian of a door and were usually produced in pairs, meant to flank the entrance to a temple or to a shrine. The horrific nature of the figure implies that this and its mate were made for a Shaiva temple, one dedicated to the god Shiva.Physical Description
The two-armed figure dances with his right leg raised and wrapped around a club. His left arm crosses his body and rests above the club and his right hand is raised almost to his ear. Tassels hang from him hips and under his armpits adding a great sense of movement to the whole figure. Multi-hooded snakes are at the base and also around the bottom of the club. He wears much of jewelry including bracelets, anklets, necklaces with should loops and an elaborate belt. His stomach protrudes over the belt. He also has large earrings and a jewel encrusted crown. His eyes bulge out and his mouth is open showing his teeth. He is a pair with 1980/2.291.Primary Object Classification Sculpture Primary Object TypefigureCollection AreaAsianRights
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